10 Frequently Asked Questions
1. "Who are you really?" -- Friends of the Groom is a theater group committed to proclaiming the Christian message with a unique blend of humor, story, challenging content, and scenes that are hard to forget. The group is composed of professional actors from the Cincinnati area, usually traveling in teams of three. The group is interdenominational. We rehearse at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park, Ohio and are supported by fees, grants, and donations from individuals and churches.
2. "Do you rent tuxedos?" -- Not yet. The name "Friends of the Groom" refers to the image of Christ as the bridegroom in the New Testament. However, we're always open to new fundraising suggestions.
3. "Then what do you do?" -- Since 1980 the group has performed original plays, led retreat weekends, and conducted workshops at thousands of locations from Anchorage to Athens, Boston to Beijing, and Jacksonville to Jerusalem. Our material is flexible. We perform at worship services, conferences, youth events, colleges, schools, artist's series, evening programs, education hours -- just about any event except for stag parties (although a few folks have asked over the years because of our name). Our scenes and plays range in length from five minutes to an hour and a half; and we can tailor a 45 to 90 minute program of short scenes to fit your needs. We also have a selection of staged scripture and other pieces suitable for worship. In our congregational retreat weekends, we use drama, small group interaction, and worship activities to build Christian community and inspire individual faith. Our "Beyond Bathrobes" workshops are designed to give people practical tools for using drama and storytelling activities in the church and in Christian education.
4. "Where have you performed in the past?" -- I'm glad you asked. Here are a few of the places we've performed and/or led workshops:
*The Episcopal Foundation for Drama's National Theater Contest (Winner of the Best Overall Production Award).
*Christians in Theatre Arts Annual Conference
*You need to Know Television Program, Chicago, IL
*The Kanuga Arts and Education Conference, Hendersonville, NC
*Montreat Music and Worship Conference
*National Youth Specialties Convention
*The National Association of Pastoral Counselors
*General Convention of the Episcopal Church
*Presbyterian (USA) General Assembly
*National Assembly of United Methodist Women
*Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts National Conference
*Calvin Institute of Christian Worship's National Worship Symposium
*Daughters of the King National Conference
*The Episcopal Network for Stewardship National Conference
*Episcopal diocesan conventions in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Rhode Island, Maine, Nebraska, and Colorado
*American Guild of Organists Gathering
*Calvin College January Series
*Charleston Atlantic Presbytery STEP Conference
*The Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH
*The Showboat Majestic at the Cincinnati Public Landing
*The Cincinnati Theatre Festival at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
*Orlando Fringe Festival
*Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Chicago
*United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH
*Union Theological Seminary, New York
*Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH
Each year we average well over 100 performances in 12 -16 states for 10 - 12 different religious denominations. Outside the continental United States, we've performed and led workshops in England, Greece, Uganda, Jordan, Israel, China, and Puerto Rico.
5. "Can you tell us about your plays?" Much of the material we present is intended to challenge an audience with a message and make them laugh at the same time. Sample scenes and plays include:
The Lord's Prayer - A person reciting the Lord's Prayer is startled when God answers. (7 min.)
The Parable of the Lighthouse - A story for the church. A small lighthouse becomes so successful that its social functions begin to interfere with its life saving operations. (12 min.)
The Case of the Missing Bodies - A comic rendition of a story from the Biblical book of Acts, presented in the style of a 1940's Humphrey Bogart detective movie. (40 min.)
Orientation - Two recent arrivals to Heaven learn from a gatekeeper what is important in the afterlife is surprisingly different from what is important on earth. (12 min.)
Remembrance - In a grave marker showroom of the future, a young woman interacts with the holographic image of her late mother, and remembers her mother's faith. (15 min.)
Once Upon a Parable - An entertaining, family-friendly presentation of three parables of Jesus--told in a fast paced comic style (30 min.)
6. "Got any references?" - We're still working on Oprah, but so far...
"[T]he refreshing combination of excellent acting, direction, and unusual material..." - Cincinnati Magazine
"...a most enjoyable surprise..." - David Lyman, Cincinnati Enquirer
"The presentation had just the right combination of lightness and probing stimulation... for the persons present. Beyond that... was the personal warmth and competence of you and your whole team." - Calvin H. Reber, Director, Dr. of Ministry Program, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio.
For a longer list of positive reviews, check out our recommendations page.
7. "Do you people have real jobs?" - I'll try not to be offended by how insulting that question is, especially since I typed it myself. Friends of the Groom is an honest-to-goodness full-time job for our Managing Director (Jocelyn Sluka) and our Executive Director (Tom Long.) The other actors work part-time for the company as well as working in other occupations. Our staff members also work professionally appearing in films, regional theater productions, national and regional commercials, and print ads; performing voice-over work; and teaching theater on a college and high school level.
8. "Are you sure you don't want to be an actor?" - Believe it or not, a woman at a church actually asked me that question after we performed in a worship service. I think she meant it as a compliment--as in: "That was so good, it was like real professional theater instead of a church skit." At least, I hope that's what she was trying to say. Regardless of her meaning, I still don't have a good answer except to say: "Yeah, I'm absolutely sure this is the work I'm supposed to be doing."
9. "How did you learn all those words? - This may be the most popular "review" question we get from audience members--which reveals two things: 1) Just how low the bar is for theater in church, and 2) people don't realize it takes an hour of rehearsal for every minute we're on stage. We believe any art can be a form of praise, and we're committed to making a sacrifice of praise--by offering God our best work. So we try to take the time to do things right.
"How Come There Are Only 9 Questions Here Instead of 10?" And that, of course, makes ten. But, just in case you have another question -- like, "What do you charge?" or "When are you available?" -- send us an e-mail at Fog@fuse.net for the answer or submit a preliminary scheduling request through our Contact page. We'll get back to you with prices and availability.