“And There Was War” is the hard-hitting urban theatre production created by actor and poet, Jermaine Wong, the founder of Final Call Productions. Ahead of the London showing on 18th February we caught up with Jermaine to find out a bit more about it.
Who is Jermaine Wong in 5 words?
Husband, Father, Playwright, Poet, Preacher
What’s your background with theatre and acting?
I am a secondary school Drama teacher and the Head of Drama at my school. I have a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies. I’ve always had a passion and desire to write, I started writing and performing poetry from the age of 16 which expanded into writing plays in 2006. I’ve written 6 short plays and 1 major 2-act play, And There Was War, I’ve now branched out into writing screen-plays for short films and web-series which we will see produced in 2017.
Exciting! You own a theatre production company, Final Call Productions, what’s that like for you?
That’s a fulfilment of a childhood dream! From the first viewing of Back To The Future and landing a main role in the school production, Blues Brothers, I knew that acting and theatre would be part of my life. The freedom of expression and the sense of belonging I experienced through theatre is something I’ve wanted to emulate for others and Final Call Productions allows me to do that successfully.
You wrote ‘And There Was War’, what is it about?
Because God takes ultimate responsibility for the planet, he is often blamed for the evil that takes place within it. And There Was War postulates to the origin of evil being the choice to be separate from the Creator. It highlights God’s plan to eradicate evil and demonstrates his love for humanity, His creation. It portrays the invisible battle between God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom.
What was the inspiration behind the play?
I found there to be a gap between many romanticised bible stories and the real struggles of trying to maintain faith and keep a relationship with Jesus Christ. My inspiration came from wanting to fill the gap and create relevant biblically sound and faith encouraging stories that would speak to people trying to maintain a relationship with Christ in a postmodern society.
Are there any familiar faces in the play?
Yes, And There Was War stars Lloyd Reid from the gospel vocal group Brooks and The Company (formerly The Company) known for their inspirational song ‘Here Comes Jesus’. Lloyd plays one of the main characters Lucifer and is an excellent actor as he is a singer.
The play was shown in Birmingham recently, how did it go down?
We had a great turnout in Birmingham and the feedback we received from them was fantastic. Birmingham people are very friendly we’ve learnt! So it was a pleasure taking our play up there. We hope to travel to other parts of the country as well as internationally in the future.
Evangelism is very much a part of your theatre productions, have you seen people come to Christ as a result of seeing your plays?
The true measure of success has come from the relationships that have been born for Christ and the decisions that have been made for Christ by audience members and participants (cast & crew) of the previous And There Was War projects. For example, one of the returning actors made his decision to follow Christ as a result of being with us in 2012. 4 years later he went on to serve as a Head Deacon in the church! At the beginning of every rehearsal there is prayer and a 10 -15 minute devotion, every participant (including non-Christian cast members) understands the importance of this project moving forward as it is lead by the Holy Spirit. This attitude fosters a deep and powerful sense of community within the team.
We have had feedback from audience members who specifically told us that after seeing the play they have now decided to get baptised or take their relationship with Christ seriously (see attached feedback), we’ve had non-believers attend and say their minds have now been open to the possibilities, the feedback has been phenomenal and although we don’t see what happens in individuals private lives after seeing the play, we know we have done our job; to plant the seed and we know that the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
In the past the play has only been shown in London , why have you decided to tour it this year?
We have people from all over requesting we bring the play to their area, we’ve even been asked sincerely by people abroad. This is our ministry, it’s us using drama to tell a story, to share the good news in a medium that is visual, memorable and brings flesh to stories from the bible that were intended to help us, and that story is one we want everyone to hear, so wherever there is a call for it we will prayerfully consider taking it there.
We often ask people what makes them juicy, but I want to know what makes “And There Was War” juicy?
The juice factor of And There Was War comes from the use of dramatic irony. The foreknowledge of popular biblical stories are told with the universal elements of human struggles; pain, death, love, sacrifice, pride, victory. This allows the spectator to engage with biblical characters that are not far-removed mystical figures. They are real people just like you and me.
FINAL CALL PRODUCTIONS brings the bible to Urban life in this must watch theatre production “And There Was War”. Sowing in London 18 February. Book your tickets now And There Was War
Over to you
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