Ted’s Blog Space

Updates, news and blog stories from around the Ted and Company universe.

To There and Back Again

March 13, 2015

By Ted Swartz Feb 13, 2015 in Freeman South Dakota, I performed “Laughter is Sacred Space.” (Click here for a decent review of the show.) Laughter reflects my relationship with Lee Eshleman, our discovering one another, our work together, and resulting 20 year friendship. And then, following his death, the period of grief and recovery that seemed to take forever. I knew Lee and I had been in Freeman many years ago, but couldn’t remember the date. On our way into town I saw a large sign directing folks to downtown Freeman—yes, there is one! The sign spurred a memory...

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The Jesus Stories and the other Jesus Stories

July 30, 2014

It’s called The Jesus Stories and as the title suggests that’s what Ted and I (Jeff Raught) try to do. Finding new ways, while visiting some of the old, to tell these stories of Jesus. It’s a play interwoven with music and scenes around food. Pasta, cheese, fine wine and so much more. But that’s the play, and what we perform on stage. What I stumbled across this past weekend at Lake Luther were the other Jesus Stories. The ones happening in between the lines. Saturday afternoon an 8 year old boy came up to me and said. “Hey, I...

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NYC – Ft. Collins, CO

July 25, 2014

This past Monday, Ted spoke on the theme of “Struggle” for the Church of the Brethren’s NYC (that’s National Youth Conference…not New York City… the more you know.) In a beautiful twist of fate, he was joined on stage by long-time friend Ken Medema and summer intern, yours truly (Jen). Leading up to NYC, a few eerie things happened… 1. The text given to Ted was Jacob wrestling with the Angel, the theme – “Struggle.” 2. Ted realized 12 years ago – he, Lee, and Ken performed a version of “Jacob’s Ladder” (a show about the humorous and heartfelt story...

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St. John’s: The Quest for the Nugget of Truth

July 11, 2014

The church at St. John’s is a loosely structured group, with more emphasis on the “loose” and “group” than on the “structure.” Which is not to say that they are a loose group, or without moral structure. It’s just that the organizational structure is loose in nature – let’s say “relaxed fit.” In creating the show, Seth, Ted and I had lots of fun imagining what a “relaxed fit” church (with plenty of space and breathing room for all the important things) might allow and encourage, and the results – in my humble estimation – are all kinds of hilarious...

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Sacred Space

June 17, 2014

This past weekend, Ted&Co took a mini-tour up to Canada with a Thursday night showing of “Listening for Grace” and Saturday/Sunday shows of “Laughter is Sacred Space.” Life on the road always generates interesting little anecdotes.  For example… Let’s say your name is Jason Hildebrand and Ted is in possession of certain belongings of yours. Upon coming to see Ted’s show in Mississauga you, Jason, will regain said belongings with the exception of one sneaky second shoe that Ted swore came up to Canada. However, the clever thing avoided eyesight by hiding under a box in the van. Now said sneaky...

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Coming soon to a Theatre near you…

May 29, 2014

Ted has been touring. Ted has been talking. Ted has been listening. And now, the time has finally come to officially open the “New show.” “Learning to Play is the 17th show I have co-written or written, and I’m not sure I have ever been associated with a project generating this much interest, enthusiasm and passion. From the blizzard defying 800 who showed up in Goshen, Indiana in January to the small special invitation conference in May, Justin, Patrick and I have heard over and over again, “Thank you, thank you for doing this show—you are taking it to every church...

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Meet our Intern

May 27, 2014
Ted and Jen

Jen was first introduced to the work of Ted&Co through the well worn VHS (yes…VHS) series FishEyes that her mother kept in the office at church. Delighted by a realization that biblical stories could be told through theatre and even better that they could be funny – Jen took off for the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Conference in Colorado and went to every single event Ted and Lee performed. Too shy to actually say hi on her own, Jen’s mother approached the two actors and said, “My daughter is going to be angry at me for doing this, but she’s too...

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The Impact of a Story or Song

May 14, 2014

In case we ever lose sight of the incredible effect that a story or song can have on us, a little story from Jeff… Recently I was invited to share with a local youth group. After some warm wonderful greetings we gathered around the piano in the sanctuary and I shared a few songs. As soon as I started “Beggatting” there were smiles all around, they knew it right away. I sang “Tell Me a Story” from Jesus Stories and again it was familiar. We talked a little bit about songwriting and how it all happens.  And then the conversation drifted back to...

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Kickstarter – closing in

April 11, 2014

I write this from a theater in my home town—a truly sacred space where humor, story and art come together. Sometimes in the midst of the hard work of creating the best theater possible it is possible to lose sight of the final impact this ancient and eternally relevant art-form can have. And then… in laughter, tears and excruciatingly beautiful silences it all comes rushing back to me, and I am moved and changed as a performer and as a person. Justin, Patrick and I are grateful for the 6 opportunities we’ve had to perform “Learning to Play” this spring...

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Fish Eyes – The Gospel of I Don’t Know

April 1, 2014

Next week Ted & Company will present four performances of Fish Eyes to celebrate 20 years of this beloved show. From April 10-13, Ted Swartz and Jason Hildebrand will take up their nets and don their (figurative) fisherman’s waders at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg VA, drawing audiences into the first century lives of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew. One week later, dinner theater guests in Ohio can also enjoy Fish Eyes at Dutch Village Inn in Columbiana OH. Ted and Jason have both noted that they discover new nuances to the stories each time they perform. We hope many...

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