I've already shared with you director Morris Ertman's pre-rehearsal notes on HOW TO WRITE A NEW BOOK FOR THE BIBLE. Here are his thoughts after spending some time working on the show.
It’s been quite a journey unpacking this play. I was drawn to it because it resonates with a belief I have had for some time - that the mystical experiences of characters in scripture were real happenings that then were mythologized in stories so remarkable that everyone had to know about them. And because people understood that they were finite, they wanted the stories to outlive their telling of them, so wrote them down. The stories all had something in common - an understanding of our humanity in relation to a God who was engaged in the day to day life of humankind.
Well, if such a relationship truly exists, why wouldn’t there be more stories that become myths that inspire us to understand that relationship? Why would it end at the Council of Nacaea where a group of religious leaders and scholars determined what books would be in the Bible around 300 AD?
That’s why this play intrigues me. It’s the journey of a writer wrestling with an understanding of his family and himself within the context of a greater myth - a myth that reaches for an understanding of our place in the sea of humanity that has come before and will come after us. It’s a journey of self-revelation contextualized by Biblical story. It’s a “why does this matter” story set in the ridiculous, goofy, undignified, petty, pretend, rarely sublime, give and take of ordinary family life. (And yes, if truth be told, we’ve all been defined by the ridiculous more often than the sublime.) Bill Cain, the priest who became the writer of a play called How To Write A New Book For The Bible - a title so long that it can’t fit on the header of a page - wonders if maybe the sublime is revealed in part by the ridiculous. Maybe the best place to find grace is in the places we think it cannot live. If that’s true, there’s hope for a little divinity to show up in all our lives, and if it does, our stories are a continuation of a grand tradition of myth where the Kingdom of Heaven is evidenced on earth.
Morris Ertman, Director