DAVID Synopsis, with photos

DAVID posterDAVID: the Giant-Killing, Song- Singing Chosen King  will receive its world premiere on afO’s stage in the ArtsLab theater at 300 E. Main Street, from February 16 through 25, 2018.  Here are some thoughts from playwright/composer/actor Sam Ward on this dynamic one-man show, a combination of theatrical story-telling and high-powered rock concert:



by Sam Ward

March 10, 2017. The stage and the audience were both small. 60-70 people had gathered for a fundraising event.  all for One‘s artistic director introduced the show there was applause as I walked onstage to begin a 30-minute preview of my original one-man musical, DAVID.  I was a little nervous, but I was prepared and felt called to share this story.

It’s the story of a man who is known both as a singer/songwriter, and as a warrior and king.  It’s the story of a man who was known for his pure heart, and yet committed terrible sin against Uriah, Bathsheba and others.  But mostly, it’s a story of a powerful God and the man who tried to express his love for God in song.

As we move toward a polished production–with five “mighty men” musicians accompanying me–I wanted to share some photos from that first preview performance last year, along with a synopsis of the first half of the show:

At the top of the show, the prophet Samuel anoints David.  The Spirit of God enters David and empowers him for the rest of his life…


The Philistines gather their troops and attack Israel…

The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, steps out from the frontlines and issues his challenge, “Give me a man and let us fight it out together!”

David hits the giant hard in the head and Goliath falls, facedown in the dirt!

As the Israelite army heads home, the women come out from the villages to welcome King Saul.  For fun they sing, “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands.”

Filled with jealousy, Saul tries to kill David.  David sings a song of justice to God.  “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you / Save me and deliver me, from all who would pursue…”

Saul discovers that Michal, his daughter, is in love with David.  Thinking the Philistines will get rid of David for him, Saul challenges David to kill 100 Philistines to get Michal as his wife.  David does it and Saul gives his daughter, Michal, to David in marriage…

Then God sends a dark mood to afflict Saul.  It takes control of him.  He is at home with his spear while David is (again!) playing music.  Saul tries to pin him to the wall…

David escapes and sings to God.  “Deliver me from my enemies, O God / Protect me from those who rise up against me…”

David runs to Nob and talks to Ahimelech the priest.  Ahimelech gives him the holy bread, taken from the presence of God, and also Goliath’s sword.  David escapes to Gath…

David is recognized by the Philistines.  Afraid for his life, David pretends to be insane.  When he escapes he sings his thanks to God, “In God, whose Word I praise / In God I trust, I will not be afraid / What can mortal man do to me?”

This is just the beginning of David’s life and only the first 30 minutes of a show which is now about 80 minutes long.  I’m excited to present these characters, these songs and THIS STORY, because I think it will help all of us see a man who was flawed, but who loved the Lord with his whole heart.


What does “Regency” mean, anyway?

Regency 1Most of us have heard the term ‘Regency England’ at some point. You may associate it with a particular kind of romance novel, or with the novels of Jane Austen. You might even rightly recognize that the women’s fashions of the time included high-waisted (“Empire”) dresses with fairly slender skirts (no hoops or bustles).

The Regency in Great Britain has both a broad and a technical definition. Continue reading

Unique attributes of afO’s production of SENSE & SENSIBILITY

It is always a challenge to take a script developed by another company, for their stage and their actors. Bedlam Theatre’s innovative production of member Kate Hamill’s adaptation has received rave reviews for its lively and unusual devices.  Their cast of 10 required far more doubling of roles, and their script suggested using a puppet for one character. But the script itself is robust, well-constructed, and lends itself to a variety of interpretations and flexibility in cast size, making it ideal for any company with more imagination than money.

Norland dining room

Two tables make a long dining table. Lorraine Knox as Mrs. Dashwood (standing).

afO was blessed by Tod Mohr’s willingness to construct our rolling tables, which attach securely with near-invisible magnets. We ended up using them a bit less than originally intended, but they still managed to serve us well as desks, dining tables, a piano forte and a bed, as well as several different horse-drawn carriages.  Our Lady Middleton was the only actress to be wheeled about (our tip of the hat to the original production, in which ALL the furniture was on wheels).

One of the more significant changes to our production was the prologue. Continue reading

A list of all music used in SENSE & SENSIBILITY

S&S posterAll the period music used in our production was recorded on a Casio Privia (PX 350M) digital keyboard. The pieces marked “arranged” had added instrumentation (french horn, contra bass, bassoon, etc). For the two Beethoven Symphonies, a one-piano four-hand edition was used to create the orchestrations.  The pieces marked “altered” were amended in some way:  measures removed, tempos significantly changed. Continue reading

What is Sense & Sensibility ABOUT, anyway?

The story of Sense & Sensibility (without spoilers)

S&S posterHenry Dashwood was a wealthy landowner and master of Norland Park, a beautiful estate in Somerset. His first wife died, leaving him with a son, John. His second marriage produced three daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret. Henry’s unexpected death after 20 years of marriage results in John Dashwood, now married with a child, inheriting Norland Park and the whole Dashwood fortune, through a legal contract known as an ‘entail‘. An entail means that the property can only pass from father to son, not to daughters. If no son were living, the nearest male relation would inherit. (This is the device that drives the plot of the popular BBC drama, Downton Abbey.)

Although the dying Mr. Dashwood pleads with his son to “provide for” his step mother and three half-sisters, John’s wife, Fanny, persuades him to offer them only some minor assistance in moving out of Norland. Meanwhile, Fanny’s brother, Edward Ferrars, visits and he and Elinor develop a warm friendship. When Fanny makes it clear that her mother, Mrs. Ferrars, will never allow Edward to marry a woman without dowry (money from her family which goes to the man she marries) and station, Mrs. Dashwood hastily removes herself and her daughters to a cottage in Devonshire, on the estate of her cousin, Sir John Middleton. Continue reading

A Brief Biography of Jane Austen

S&S posterJane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) spent most of her 41 years living quietly with immediate family members in the English village of Steventon and Chawton, Hampshire. Her father was rector of the parish church at Steventon for many years, and took in pupils to supplement his modest income. Jane was the seventh of eight children born to her parents, and the second of only two girls. (Jane and her older sister Cassandra were extremely close throughout Jane’s life, as evidenced by their many letters to one another.)

Jane Austen goodJane received most of her education from her parents. Interested in writing from an early age, she wrote many short humorous pieces to be read at family gatherings. As an adult, she continued this practice, but began to write longer works—still with no thought of publication. In 1795 she finished Elinor and Marianne, (the prototype for Sense & Sensibility), and in 1796 she wrote First Impressions (which would become Pride and Prejudice). Continue reading

Dance and Music in SENSE & SENSIBILITY

S&S posterIf you’ve ever seen a screen adaptation of any of Jane Austen’s works, you may have noticed that dancing plays a significant part in the social life of her characters. Whether it’s Anne in Persuasion, who is considered an old maid and consequently is expected to play the piano while her younger cousins dance with the man she loves…or the drama of who dances with whom in Emma, an instance where dance really moves the plot along…or the younger Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice constantly clamoring to dance, or the tense conversation between Elizabeth and Darcy during several dances in that same novel…Austen uses dancing in dramatic, specific ways to advance plot and reveal character.

Sense and Sensibility is no exception, although it is not dancing per se which is the key to the London ballroom scene in Act 2.  Nonetheless, the dances need to be right, and there was only one place to turn: Continue reading