Max Mclean, Producer, Director discussed on Eric Metaxas


Friends off and on this program today I get to talk to my friend Max McLean who is Max had even describe you you are an actor a producer a director you create theater of is that about sum you up that's right we have to we have a actual production company in New York that produces theater from a Christian worldview meant to engage a diverse audience memorize that I did it my cell is so often I now it's ello ship for performing arts we should start there what is the website fellowship FPA theater dot com F. theater dot com I've seen so many of your productions and I want to have you on today particularly today because tomorrow in New York City you got stuff all over the country but tomorrow in New York City you are kicking off a brand new production that's right tell us about this production well it's a modern retelling of John Milton's Paradise Lost we took this ten thousand line epic poem written sixteen seventy sixteen sixty seven one of the greatest masterpieces in English literature and we've got this great artistic team of Tony nominated designers actors Broadway that and we have retold it into a accessible hundred minute play that is really meant to tell this great story in a hundred minutes you boiled Paradise Lost down two hundred minutes that sounds scandalous to me as a as an English major and a writer I'm scandalized in all seriousness when I heard you were doing as I thought wow Paradise Lost for those of us who who read it it is such a big story when I say big I mean it's happening on a cosmic scale in heaven and hell and you know the garden of Eden whatever so to adapt that who did you find what genius did you find to adapt to Milton's masterpiece in two hundred minutes on the stage well the store it came to me the when we did Martin Luther on trial the director Michael parda who also was directed arenas now on Broadway he was working with Tom do lack who is a professor of English at the university of Connecticut and he's been a playwright today on bond hit show on Broadway breaking legs a couple of others Kennedy center award winning playwright and he had he and Michael had been working on Paradise Lost for a long time and they brought it to me and I said well let's have a we read it and then we just I said I like where you are with it but if you're going to do it too for our audience it you know we have to make sure we're telling Milton's story so we worked on it for the past year and we got to the place we thought this is ready for for a production I I just love it because there's so many people that you know there's certain things in the culture that we've all heard of we've all heard of Paradise Lost even if we're not quite sure what it was or what I mean we've heard Paradise Lost we've heard of Dante's inferno we've heard these great things but to be able to go to a theater and see and actually entertaining retelling of it that's nothing I thought I'd live to see well it it needs to happen it's it's such a critical story into it the play begins in hell with Lucifer and Beelzebub they've been banished from have been they've been assigned to help their Fiori as they want to exact revenge and they have this notion of this New World because what's what's interesting to me it it it is that it wasn't just Lucifer and Beelzebub in Beloeil and Malik it was four hundred million angels rebelled four hundred million angels for about a third of the angels rebel that's and I've actually never heard that number I'm surprised that maybe it it it did Milton that she left that whose Milton's number one I love the fact that if you lived in the in the mid seventeenth century you can have a certain level of certainty about this like they would be like what I don't know but he was like we figured it out so we have theoretically twelve million angels all hundred billion I guess what billions of a delay so how many fell four hundred a third of the angels in those and four hundred million four hundred million angel okay so we had twelve hundred million angel somehow Milton figure this out and I'm not disagreeing I just find it funny that someone figured I'd never heard this number four but in any event that means unfortunately we have four hundred million demons but this happens I mean what what's beautiful to me about Milton's ability to to to see about his perspective than others he's talking about the moment the earth is created and Adam and eve are created and then Satan wanting to destroy what god created I mean you want to talk about drama this is drama but I still think it's an amazing thing that you put this on the status of people want to see if they can only see it right now in New York right it's running from January fifteenth manana till the end of February I have three twenty third all right it may extend but it extends okay and just a week or so so if you're coming to New York and you miss this you missed that January fifteenth of February twenty third Paradise Lost right here in New York City forty second street before we come back to that I just want to remind people if that's my wife I'm not here I just want to remind people that you've got stuff now that you've produced all over the country this is a beautiful realization of the vision that you've shared for years I mean I've known you through redeemer for years you've gotta be pleased to see this happening all across America I'm pretty amazed I'm really quite amazed I didn't think it could happen I mean what we did we we we tried to select material that we think articulates the Christian worldview in an imaginative way yeah we apply the the largest budgets that are the the the the best creative outlets at our budgets will allow and then we ask people to help us to do it and that's what fellowship for performing arts is its ability of people to believe art and theater for Christian worldview can engage imagination and influence can by the way I want to say to be I wanna make sure people understand when we say from a Christian poor world view doesn't mean that this is Christian theater this is theater you can bring anyone to these plays and I've seen enough of them to say that's what I delight in about what you do is that even though it has a Christian angle anybody can come to hear about CS Lewis or to or to it to hear about Martin Luther or to see one of these pre productions just before we go to our break I want to make sure people understand how much stuff you have happening in just in the next couple of months here you have so Paradise Lost is opening tomorrow in New York City and it's going to go to a very twenty third but you have the Screwtape letters opening in Tampa you've got the great divorce opening in Charlotte and this is all between now and April in fort Lauderdale the Screwtape letters in Washington DC the great divorce that said January thirtieth to February ninth in Santa Barbara the most reluctant convert that of course this year Lewis is brighter and is that you were playing Lewis right man I love watching you do Lewis at you I've seen it so many times that's going to palm springs we've got the Screwtape letters in Birmingham Alabama Pittsburgh Hey al then they're coming to Pittsburgh the great divorce coming to Pittsburgh and then you've got Saint Louis Dallas Houston Northwestern University Colorado springs university of Michigan Tulsa Rutgers University Kansas city this is this is unbelievable I just I I love it love it love it now I have to ask you when we're talking about the Screwtape letters and the great divorce these are some of the greatest books ever written by CS Lewis to adapt them for the theater to me as a writer I see that is really daunting it's amazing to me that that you did that talk about that for a moment well Screwtape letters was a little bit easier than the great divorce because it's gonna take you have a pretty simple predator prey story through tapes the predator the patient that Saluces word for someone that needs corrupting right and so the question the play ask is will the predator get express yeah so that was pretty pretty simple the the great divorce was more challenging and but I think the way we made that one work is we employed some really dazzling stage craft to tell that story to give the vividness the expansiveness of being in in a in a cramped gray town and then going to the outs with this bus trip going to the outskirts of heaven and arriving there and of course the the conflict there is does work will they want to stay you know Lewis's point is the doors of hell a locked from the inside all of that Intel choose it without that self choice it could be no help and so we're seeing this tension that they're offered paradise and they'd rather stay in hell pretty creepy it sounds like you may disagree with some of the Calvinists like Tim Keller but when I can get into that right now we're not here to divide we're here to unite we'll be right back on talking to my friend Max McLean fellowship for the performing arts is the organization doing all this and we'll be right back the reviews on John Scott president trop makes his first twenty twenty campaign appearance tonight in the battleground state of Wisconsin for Riley the badger state rally coincides with a democratic presidential debate tonight in neighboring Iowa the house expected to vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment against president drop to the Senate speaker Nancy Pelosi met privately today at the capital with a democratic caucus to discuss the time table made wall Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes later with Republican senators on terms of the trial the National Security Agency discovering a major security flaw in Microsoft Windows ten operating system that could allow hackers to intercept seemingly secure communications the NSA tipped off Microsoft so that they can fix the system for everyone the Dow is ahead sixteen points the nasdaq down twenty seven this is S. are in use America during season 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