Creating a character in a 'New Book for the Bible'

Linda Gehringer said she enjoys creating roles in plays.

Gehringer, an actress who lives in Laguna Beach, is a staple at South Coast Repertory, as well as a television actress on shows like "Touch" with Kiefer Sutherland and "Justified," she said.

Now, she is starring as Mary Cain, a role she originated, in the repertory's upcoming production of "How to Write a New Book for the Bible" by Bill Cain.

"Creating roles is just fun," she said. "That's one of the reasons I wanted to show the South Coast Repertory audience this play. In terms of roles I've created, this is right up there. It's an amazing role, and I feel like this audience understands this body of work that I've been given the gift of being able to do. I was so excited when we were invited to come here."

"How to Write a New Book for the Bible" is the true story about Cain's return home to help his mother, Mary, with her battle with cancer and his experience recreating the family dynamic for six months.

"It's a play that every family will relate to because it is a family story," Gehringer said. "I think there are many people that will see their own families when they see this play."

Cain, a Jesuit priest, said while the Bible may be viewed as a rule book, it is really a series of stories about a family and generations of a family.

"The working out of the family mystery is the stuff of revelation to reveal himself or herself," he said. "In this play, we stay with one family, watching the dynamic of four people grow closer and closer until there's nothing left but love."

Gehringer added, "We all have a family story that could be told and included in the Bible."

Cain said he wrote the play, based off his book of the same name, three days after his mother died.

"It didn't feel like a coping mechanism," he said. "When someone dies, you suddenly have a house full of stuff to get rid of. As I was sorting through stuff, there weren't a lot of valuables to keep, so my question was about what I wanted to save. I wanted to save the stories."

He said his parents were exquisite storytellers.

"I found their stories precious," he said. "I wanted to hold onto them. The writing was a sense of saying, 'Look at this.'"

Twitter: @TheDailyPilot

If You Go

What: "How to Write a New Book for the Bible"

When: Oct. 19 to Nov. 18

Where: South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: $20 to $70


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