Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#Interview - The Paschal Lamb by Elizabeth G. Honaker

Write Now Literary is pleased to present The Paschal Lamb, a Christian drama play with author Elizabeth G. Honaker, March 13-17, 2017.

 The Paschal Lamb
The Paschal Lamb, an Easter Play in Four Acts
by Elizabeth G. Honaker

Interview with Elizabeth G. Honaker:

Crystal: Today I have the pleasure of hosting Elizabeth G. Honaker. Welcome Elizabeth! I'm excited to have you here today.  Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Elizabeth: How “little”?? Just a joke. I have been known to talk for hours! However, I will briefly fill you in on “Fun Facts to Know and Tell” about Elizabeth Frances Golibart Honaker:
Fun Fact #1: I was given the beautiful name “Elizabeth” after both my maternal grandmother and the present Queen of England. I am an anglophile (a lover of England) mainly because, right at the Bicentennial of our nation, I went on a 10-day singing tour of England with the University of Maryland Chorus, and fell in love with our Mother Country. Shortly after that, my husband’s job actually took us to England for 12 years. While there, I managed a Christian bookstore for 6 years, and had a great many adventures. When our daughter was born (in England), we gave her “Elizabeth” as a middle name, and she cherishes it, too.
Fun Fact # 2: My second name comes from my paternal grandmother, “Aunt” Fanny. She taught me wisdom and openness and courage. While she was living with my family (my mother had died when I was 12), I learned how to cook and sew and wash clothes, and I learned joy in doing chores. She constantly modeled happiness, contentment, and joy, and I was inspired to imitate her. She also taught me how to rejoice in being “the wise side of 60,” but that is too long a lesson for this exchange.
Fun Fact # 3: My clan, the Golibarts, gave me a solid Catholic upbringing and education. I no longer worship my Savior in the Catholic Church, but my religious training of prayer and Bible teaching certainly directed me towards Jesus. I personally encountered Him in 1973, and now I worship Him with Christian brothers and sisters in a little Methodist Church up the road from us.
Fun Fact # 4: Long, long ago, God showed me that He has a wonderful sense of humor. He introduced me to the love of my life – my husband Allen – and he made sure my initials ended in an “H.” efgh – an alphabetical run for a woman who loves ordered words!
Fun Facts # 5 – 10: In a nutshell, I am married to the Love of My Life, and have been for almost 46 years. Our son James was born in Spain (when Allen was in the U.S. Navy); he has a wife and 3-year-old daughter. Our daughter Christine is married to a career Navy pilot and is raising 3 rambunctious sons who love Ga’maw (me) to crochet Star Wars miniature dolls for them. I have written plays for the Wesley Grove Disciples of Hanover, Maryland, for well-nigh 27 years – and can’t stop!! They keep presenting these plays each year, and I keep writing them! At home, I teach piano lessons and writing to private students. I also teach writing on the college level. I love gardening, and when I am fed up with politics, I watch the four Star Trek franchises over and over and over…

Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

Elizabeth: The Paschal Lamb was written because I wanted to explore the character of Barabbas, the murderer who was released instead of Jesus. As I developed the precis, I found the concept of “lamb” coming more and more into focus. According to Matthew’s Gospel, Barabbas’ first name was “Jesus,” and the irony of him having that name seemed to align with the theme of innocence and guilt implicit in the Passover ritual.
However, I have to confess that one of my favorite scenes in this play does not include Barabbas. It is Act I, Scene 3, and it features a young Martha of Bethany meeting 12-year-old Jesus of Nazareth at the Temple in Jerusalem, where Martha’s family is about to sacrifice her pet lamb for the Passover. She is distraught over this, but the Young Jesus reassures her that the continual animal sacrifices will end, and that a permanent solution to sin’s guilt will shortly be revealed by God. As the scene closes, the Young Jesus is left along on stage. He prays, “And I thank Thee, Father, for providing the Perfect Lamb to be sacrificed for the sin of the world. (Slowly, deliberately)  Father, I thank Thee for sending ME.” The teenager who first played this part delivered these lines with unforgettable frankness and reverence.

Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for the book title?

Elizabeth: Whenever I write a Biblical play, I never rely on my memory. Even though I have a master’s degree in theology, I don’t think it’s wise to just launch into an Easter play without study and prayer. The lamb which was customarily sacrificed at Passover is called by some Christians the “Paschal lamb,” and that seemed to fit my work very well.

Crystal: What are you currently working on?

Elizabeth: I have just finished writing another Easter play for the Disciples entitled The Brother’s Basket. It derives in part from a unique passage from Psalm 81:6 which reads, "I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.” It is a “talking head” play: James, the half-brother of Jesus, essentially reveals to the audience his journey from criticism of his Brother to faith in Him as the Messiah of Israel. I don’t usually give a narrator that many lines, so this is a big experiment on my part.
In between James’ addresses to the audience, the Disciples act out various relevant Gospel scenes, so there is enough room for other actors to contribute significantly. The Disciples seem delighted with the script, and are working to present it on Holy Thursday of this year (2017). Since my husband and I moved to Tennessee in 2008, I no longer direct the Disciples, but they keep asking me to write new plays. I try to do something special for the cast and crew; the last few years, I have produced the play they perform in printed form; I present it to them at Dress Rehearsal. Except for one year when Allen was sick and could not travel, we not only attend the play, but we assist with costumes, makeup, props, sound and lighting. It is a wonderfully fulfilling Lenten exercise.

Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?

Elizabeth: Believe it or not, I almost always write the Easter play between Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and the first or second week of January (depending on when Easter is). I write other things during the year, but no matter how “on top” of the play’s projected plot I feel, I cannot seem to write it until after Christmas is over. Years ago, I used to hide myself in the room with our (only) computer and write all day for a week or two (depending on my school’s Christmas break), but now, with a much quieter household and a more flexible teaching schedule, I can write on my laptop in and around “civilization.” Allen used to joke that he slipped food and drink under the door in order to keep me alive, but now I feel freer to wander to the kitchen and snack whenever I want!
Now the book I’m writing for the Golibart Family Reunion in July 2017 is coming to me in much easier chunks! I don’t have to use the Bible for that one!

Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other?

Elizabeth: Tons of research – always! But I don’t have to haunt “the stacks” of a college library any more, like I did for my first master’s thesis, A Theological Examination of the York Mystery Plays (completed in 2000, published in 2014). I generally do a lot of “surfing” on the web, and glean reliable sources through the information there. I also order books (both new and used) for my research. I explore quite a few “rabbit holes” every time I start a project!
For this year’s play on Jesus’ half-brother James, I knew that the Catholic Church and Protestant denominations have very different traditions on this man (who became a bishop of Jerusalem not too long after Pentecost). I had to choose a stance that would make me unpopular with Catholics (and my family), but which aligns with the Protestant interpretation of James’ relationship with the Christ.
For my book Come Before Winter, I had to carefully figure out a timeline for the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, because no one source agreed with another. This occupied most of my waking moments for weeks.
My husband is my primary critic, and his sharp eyes and quick mind never miss a mistake or discrepancy, so I rely on him a lot as my secondary researcher. He is the perfect encourager.

Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?

Elizabeth: Well, as many years as I have enjoyed the books and essays and fantasies of C.S. Lewis, I still re-read them periodically. I am studying Mere Christianity again – it’s fascinating what I’m picking up that I didn’t the first, second, third, and fourth times I read it! And one of my private students is finishing up an essay on Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I was so pleased that she chose this book to read and study.
Ravi Zacharias is a Christian apologist who has familiarized himself with dozens of religions besides Christianity. His sharp mind deftly reveals the truth of Christianity in the face of so much confusion. He constantly comes out with new material, and I delve into it like a kid at Christmas.
I love Calvin Miller, too, but people don’t seem to appreciate his Singer trilogy. It’s an inspired mixture of poetry and prose, telling the story of Christ and the beginning of the Church. I love to re-read it at Easter. Just before Miller died, he published a charming Amish trilogy that I cried over.
I’m a nut for Shakespeare, and there are still plays of his that I have to read!
I love J.R.R. Tolkien, and I’ve digested his Lord of the Rings trilogy at least three times…maybe four.

Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written in that you would like to try?

Elizabeth: Someday soon, I want to put some of my unpublished poetry into a book with art or pictures or something like that. I tend to write for occasions – like Christmas, or weddings, or births – so it is usually directed towards my family. However, I do love it when I feel the Lord has inspired me to write a poem that glorifies Him, and now I’m less shy about sharing it.

I am also ready to write a screenplay, if anyone out there wants me to transfer one of my plays to the Big Screen [hint, hint].

About The Book:
Martha of Bethany and Barabbas of Bethlehem both experience life-changing events at an early age. Martha experiences the price of sacrifice, and Barabbas experiences the price of hatred. As adults, their lives intersect and they encounter Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah awaited by the Jewish nation. This Christian drama explores the importance of accepting the sacrifice of Christ for sin.

ISBN-10: 1500172227

ISBN-13: 978-1500172220

About The Author:

Elizabeth Golibart Honaker hails from Sparta, Tennessee, where she teaches writing support and English at Motlow Community College. Her undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts, and her first MA is in Theology. This has given her the breadth and scope to write over fifteen full-length passion plays in the last twenty years – seven of which are in print with others being prepared for publication – as well as dozens of shorter scripts, short stories, and poems on Christian topics. Her first historical fiction novel, Come Before Winter, was published in 2014. In that same year, she completed her second MA in English and Creative Writing (Fiction) at Southern New Hampshire University. 

When she is not writing or tutoring, she spends her time devising new home projects for Allen, her husband of 45 years. She also enjoys communicating with her two wonderful grown children and buying (and making) trinkets for her four lively grandchildren. She is passionate about sharing Christ, missional activities, and her local church. She also loves gardening, sewing, piano playing, and Star Trek as time permits.

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Tour hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours

1 comment:

  1. Great interview!! Thanks for sharing---Rae