Burning Heart presents a Lauralee Farrer production

David P. Frere

Using the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer observed by the Abrahamic faith traditions, Praying the Hours personifies each hour into a character to tell a story of a 24-hour day. In the feature film, Traveling Man visits with each of eight friends on the day of his accidental death, and—as he crosses over from this life into the next—sees life anew from the perspective of eternity. In the eight short films that expand the project, the story of each hour is told in more detail.

Here, Director Lauralee Farrer comments on the casting of David P. Frere as the hour called Sext in The Story of the Recovering Stranger.

The hour of sext is the most complicated and intense hour, pitting the angel of intensity against the noonday devil. I don’t know David Frere very well, but I had the feeling that he was familiar with extremes when I first met him, and I am now even more convinced that he is right to play the story of the Recovering Stranger.

It was that feeling that introduced me to him the first time: I saw the words “the Lord’s” tattooed on the palm of his hand, and I recognized the reference to Isaiah 44:5 immediately. I admired his cheek, and probably annoyed him to no end with the many times I introduced him to people saying, “show them your hand.”

David telegraphs the impression that he is unafraid of a new challenge or of the unknown. He recently did a timelapse video that required him to stand still in front of a camera for hours. When I explained to him the eccentricities of the role we were asking him to play, including the possibility of shaving his head and beard, he said, “let’s go all the way. Why bother otherwise?” If you saw his tremendous beard, you would understand. No man wants to go from leonine to hairless, but it takes a man of substance to welcome the challenge.

Born on the fifth day of spring in 1981 in Tournai, Belgium, David says he was a shy kid who, as a teenager, had numerous random jobs from selling ice cream from a truck to working in a prison to teaching children. He started, as he puts it, “screaming” in 2000, and has been in Belgian chaos bands since then, most recently “Reno”—which he hopes to bring to a U.S. tour. He is currently in Southern California doing graduate studies in theology and its relationship to art and culture.

He and his wife Melodie married in June 2010 before they came to America together where she teaches French and learns English. David works at a café—one of the few jobs available to him on his student visa—and wants to open a bar in Belgium one day. In the meantime, he loves good food, good music, coffee, traveling and shoes. One of his favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, who, in an address given at the Sorbonne, in Paris, April 23, 1910, said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

still photographs by Jordan McMahon