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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A parable in the form of a mystery

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The cast of "Poor Richard" includes (seated from left) Colleen Embry, Warren Sager, Lindsey Harris, Martin Jones, (standing) Nancy Crowell, Billy Lowery, Dianne Clanton, Mack Howell, Faye Crews and (not pictured) Andrea Lovvorn.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney) [Order this photo]
"It's sort of a murder mystery," said Warren Sager about his play "Poor Richard."

Billy Lowery and Warren Sager
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
There's just one catch: "Nobody gets murdered."

It's also sort of a Bible story, being inspired by Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan.

"Poor Richard" will be presented as a dinner theater production July 27 and 29 at Fair Haven Baptist Church on U.S. 231 North, and without dinner but as a dessert matinee on July 28.

Sager, a retired postal worker, has been selling Christian-themed play scripts for 11 years through his website, scriptsbywarren.com. Churches, theater groups and Christian schools can order one of his existing manuscripts or can commission a new one. He's currently got 250 scripts available on the site and had just finished one of four active commissions when he spoke to the Times-Gazette.

About a decade ago, a church in Portland, Maine, approached him about a murder mystery based on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Sager, an Agatha Christie fan, thought it was right up his alley. The original patron ended up changing its plans, but the play sold well through the web site, and for a while was his most popular.

A resident of Murfreesboro since 2004, Sager began attending Fair Haven Baptist in March of this year, after his wife was hired to be the church's accompanist.

"Some of the ladies approached me and said, 'We hear you do drama,'" he said.

Mack Howell and Warren Sager
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
He was asked to put together a dinner theater production. The cast includes both first-time actors and community theater veterans. But there weren't quite as many auditioners as Sager had hoped for, and so he found himself without anyone the part of Richard, the victim whose trauma sets the plot into motion and who spends much of the play sprawled out, unconscious or worse.

Sager ended up playing the part himself. He's trying to figure out ways to keep himself from involuntarily scratching his nose, breathing too deeply or providing other clues which might distract from the action.

Dinner theater tickets for "Poor Richard" are $15 and can be purchased until July 20 from New Covenant Christian Bookstore or Lowery Jewelers. Dessert matinee tickets may be purchased in advance for $5, or for $7 at the door. Start time is 6:30 p.m. for the dinner performances on the 27th and 29th, 2 p.m. for the matinee on the 28th.

For more information, call the church office, 680-9803; Nancy Crowell, 580-1978; or Mack Howell, 619-5765.

Colleen Embry (kneeling) checks the pulse of "Richard" (Warren Sager) as Nancy Crowell, Billy Lowery, Lindsey Harris, Mack Howell and Faye Crews react and Martin Jones enters.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney) [Order this photo]

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