For well over thirty years, I have performed a one-man play titled "Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?" based on the life of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, William Faulkner. Tom Dupree and I wrote the play in 1980. I received a Masters degree in theater at The University of Mississippi and prior to 1980 was a theater teacher in a community college. After premiering the show at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi, we toured most of the continental United States, as well as twelve foreign countries. Thanks to the play's success, I was able to support a family doing what I passionately loved to do. However, there was always a longing in my heart to do more. Oh, Mr. Faulkner...was wonderful to me and allowed me to see parts of the world I otherwise would have never seen. Still, it soon came time for me to pursue something else. I felt an urge from a source deep inside me to create something that celebrated the human condition and through that glorified its Maker. I felt a clearly discerned “call” from God to do so. To answer His call, I founded a non-profit organization called Fish Tale Group in 2006.
The mission statement for Fish Tale Group was to illuminate scripture through modern drama. That is, we would revisit Biblical stories that were over two thousand years old and re-examine them through the use of modern language, dress and dialogue while at the same time always remaining faithful to the core message of these stories. We wanted to create an experience that was relate-able for modern audiences. I had already begun to do something along these lines with the Biblical monologues I had written and performed in churches. There were six of these: Flower Child (John the Baptist), The Last Epistle (St. Paul), Fish Tale (St. Peter), Me and My Shadow (Judas), Father to the Stepson (Joseph) and Giving and the Son of Joy! (Barnabas). The characters would all appear in modern dress and speak in today’s language.
My vision was to have three components to Fish Tale Group: film production, live theater production and a touring program. Film production was the first to materialize. We started with three, multi-character stories in the Bible: “The Miracle at Cana”, “The Woman at the Well”, and “Christ Healing a Blind Man”. We placed these three stories in today’s world and filmed them in a documentary format. We also developed a study-guide to accompany these DVDs. Through a contract with Cokesbury, we were able to market these DVDs to churches in over twenty states. Trinity Broadcasting Network also bought the rights to run these stories for five years which gave us worldwide exposure. We were also able to present to TBN the filmed versions of the monologues Fish Tale and Flower Child. Next, it was time for the live theater productions facet to be realized. Fish Tale Group Theatre has arrived objective, productions are intentionally and prayerfully chosen that will illuminate specific challenges! Its purpose is to honestly explore the modern day struggles that involve topics such as: faith, hope, love, sin and spirituality and to focus presentations toward specific audiences. To accomplish this of life and then deliver those stories to specific audiences. For example, the inaugural production of Fish Tale Group Theatre was Bill W. and Dr. Bob, a compelling and moving play that chronicles the fitful origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. For this production, we targeted groups such as treatment centers and other related organizations. We presented a story that many recognized as their own. Fish Tale Group Theatre is not just another non-profit theater presenting plays. ”We produce specific plays that illuminate a specific challenge of specific audiences. Finally, the touring program will continue that aim as we explore Biblical stories. With original work such as The Prodigal and Martha, as well as the religious monologues, we want to focus on church groups and related organizations in an attempt to rediscover the Bible. So then, this is who we are and what we do. Fish Tale Group Theatre is not content to be entertainment alone, we strive to engage, enrich, encourage and edify as well.