The Project

The Wineskin Project is a series of short read-aloud plays based on the Gospels that can be freely downloaded for use as Sunday school, church school or Bible study curriculum for high schoolers or adults. (You might also try them with your junior highers if, based on your knowledge of your particular kids, you think they would like them.)

The plays will be written with these goals in mind:

  • To dramatize the human reality behind these accounts from a distant time and place.
  • To spur discussion by raising questions and exploring oddities in the texts while trying as much as possible to avoid supplying any answers.
  • To conjure the mystery of that Kingdom not of this world, that calls us to an end we know not.

I'll be writing these plays in lectionary order. Upon this website's launch in April of 2013, plays covering every Gospel reading scheduled for the summer of 2013 in the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, or Revised Lectionaries (Year C, Propers 4-16) will be available right away, and I'll try from that point on to post new plays at least four months before their scheduled dates so that all the plays for each quarter of the Sunday School year can always be evaluated before that quarter begins.

The Writer

Freeman Ng is a Google software engineer by profession, and a writer by obsession. He grew up in a conservative non-denominational Bible church and went on to join the Episcopal Church as an adult. He may or may not still be an Episcopalian. He lives in Oakland, California.

Freeman is also the author of Haiku Diem, a daily haiku feed, Haiku Diem: The Best of Year One, a collection of the best haiku from the first year of Haiku Diem, and Joan, a novelization of the life of Joan of Arc he's currently trying to get published. You can find more of his writing through his website.

       

The Feeds

To be notified when new plays are posted, subscribe to The Wineskin Project's Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or RSS feeds.

To receive occasional emails about new writing by Freeman Ng, subscribe to his mailing list:

Note: your contact information will never be shared or sold to anyone else, and you'll never receive more than two emails per calendar year.

The Plays

(the blog)

sort by:

The FAQ

How do I use these plays in my class or small group?

Just have the group sit around a table or in a circle as they normally would, pass out copies of the play, assign parts, and start reading! You might also want to read the Gospel passage itself beforehand, though this isn't required to understand the plays.

Can these plays be performed in front of an audience?

They weren't really written to be performed on stage, or even to be read aloud to an audience, so you'd probably have to make some adjustments for them to work well either way. But you certainly have my permission to try!

What if my church doesn't go by the lectionary?

You can use the plays in any order you like, and I've provided additional sorting options above to help you browse through them in various ways.

You got something wrong in one of the plays!

Please feel free to click the "discuss" links above to enter into a discussion of any of the plays, but keep in mind that, in order to create complete and compelling literary works out of what are often extremely short readings, I've "padded out" the stories quite a bit with invented plot and background, and have even occasionally rearranged events for better dramatic effect or to raise further questions for discussion.

Please also remember that while you probably have a framework of theological interprations that for you forms an integral part of these stories, other churches might have very different interpretations that seem to them just as absolute, but I have to create content that will serve you all.

Finally, consider that the disciples themselves would have had no such interpretive framework, or at least nothing that was consistent or correct, as epitomized by the fact that they never realized Jesus was going to be killed despite his repeated and explicit warnings about it! It is their raw human experience as they stumbled through momentous events that I've tried most to capture in these plays.