By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
As the lights dim and the curtain rises, theatergoers anticipate that moment when they are swept into a world created by an author and brought to life by actors.
In such a way, theater is similar to God creating the world, said Michael Kary, an acting instructor and director in Grand Canyon University’s College of Fine Arts and Production (COFAP).
“When God creates the world, he goes out into a blank space and says words and the world is created,” Kary said. “The same in theater. We go out into a blank space and with our words create a new world.”
Bridging the gap between theater and Christianity is one of the themes in Kary’s new book, “Acting in Faith: A Christian’s Guide,” which he describes as “a technique book and a devotional” that offers Biblical principles and techniques to performance roadblocks.
The self-published volume, scheduled for release Aug. 6, will be used as a text this year in COFAP’s acting classes, Kary said.
Among the ideas Kary explores is how being a Christian helps actors address some of the biggest obstacles they face: unreliable inspiration, fear and lack of empathy.
“Christians have a unique answer to all three of the issues,” Kary said.
Ironically, he said, Christian movies and plays tend to “stink.”
“At the heart of it, art asks questions, and instead of telling stories, a lot of Christian movies and theater tend to try to answer questions and teach lessons,” he said.
Kary’s book also poses the question: What if the world was all a stage?
“I throw out the implications,” he said. “If the world is a stage, it follows that there must be an author. As an actor, I would find comfort in knowing there’s a part created for me that only I can play.”
Kary began writing about 10 years ago during a time when he was ill and in bed for almost a year.
“I didn’t think I would ever perform again,” he said. “I started thinking about what other outlets I could have. I began writing in earnest.”
He’s been writing ever since, working on this book and writing plays.
“I really found God during that time I was sick,” Kary said.
He said he finished the book about two years ago. In it, he said, he codifies the philosophy of his craft and his faith into one thing.
“Teaching here has been the perfect field to try it out,” he said. “With the encouragement and push toward integration of faith, learning and work, I had no barriers here.”
Kary, who directed the smash hit “Seussical the Musical” this spring, is now directing Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” a mystery that will open Sept. 2 at Ethington Theatre.
Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.