Nineteen-year-old Cristian Washburn performed in a production of my play Narrow Escape last summer. He played the role of Chris, one of the few prisoners in the story who trusts and follows the Guide to freedom. (Check out the picture at the end of this post to see Cristian in costume and in character.) Cristian enjoyed his experience with the drama, and he was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions. Thanks, Cristian!
Describe your character’s personality. Contemplative and hopeful: he hoped there was a way to escape the prison but realized that he couldn’t escape on his own and that only the Guide could lead them out.
What was the biggest challenge for you in playing this character? The hardest thing to learn was how to portray a thoughtful, hopeful character and then how to mask him with a downcast, discouraged, and helpless attitude when under abuse. Also, my character was mostly developed through subtle, thoughtful expressions and/or comments rather than obvious gestures, expressions, and comments, making him difficult for me, a more-“dynamic”-than-“subtle” person, to draw out.
What did you most enjoy about your character? I was thankful to at least have the “smart” character, I didn’t have to be the one with a “sash!” or the “clueless selfie gal!” (Perhaps a bit vain, but only natural, I guess, ha ha.) Yet this also made my character somewhat less colorful.
About the play as a whole? I loved getting to act with a talented cast of characters and friends. I always enjoy acting under the direction of Ms. Julia Thomas! Finally, I loved getting to help share a message that has affected my life with the audience.
What is something you learned from the play? The main message of the play, that we can’t escape our prison of sin by ourselves, really encouraged and challenged me. I have to surrender control of my life and let God “take the driver’s seat.” To be honest and open, being homeschooled, working independently, and God’s blessing of a brain that figures stuff out quickly makes it easy to feel self-reliant in life: you get discouraged when you see that you can’t fix your sin mess by yourself when you can fix other problems; yet you can be so used to your self-reliance that you’re too stubborn to let God handle it: it’s hard to let go of control. But that’s the point of the play: we can’t make it out of our prison of sin on our own—other prisoners had tried and failed—; only Jesus can lead us out, and we have to be willing to trust and follow Him.