A play by Love-It Productions will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Liberty County Commissioner Donald Lovette, who wrote the play, "With My Spiritual Eyes, I Can See," said he penned it to coincide with this year’s theme for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, "Our History, Our Choices, Our Future."
"The synopsis of this play is a young man, Detrick, who discovers that his refusal to let go of his past and to face his challenges are the delay to his bright future," said Lovette, who also is the director of laboratory services at Liberty Regional Medical Center. "Uncle Bubba, a father-figure in the family, refuses to let Detrick stay in his pity party. And though he’s legally blind, it’s Uncle Bubba’s spiritual insight that brings Detrick to the light."
The part of Uncle Bubba is played by Kenneth Howard, Lovette said. This pivotal character’s special insight is designed to echo the words of the Apostle Paul when he talked about things that are spiritually discerned in 1 Corinthians 2:14.
Sideeq Heard, a senior at Bradwell Institute, plays the lead character, Detrick, a rebellious young man with lots of excuses. Heard said this is not his first play. He’s worked in theater for six years.
"I started acting when I was 12 and we lived in Arizona," he said. "When my dad got orders to come here to Fort Stewart, I continued working in theater at school and with Love-It Productions. After I graduate, I plan to get a bachelor’s in theater at Howard University, then go to New York to find my career."
Heard said this is not the first time he’s played the role of a rebellious young man. A previous role as a teen who was both rebellious and violent helped prepare him to be Detrick, whom he described as mildly rebellious by comparison.
"I just have natural talent," LaShea Williams said with a laugh when explaning why she took the role of Sister Stafford, the flirtatious matron who discovers Detrick, now homeless and living in the park. "I just love theater, acting and drama. This is my first Love-It Production but not my first time acting or singing."
During the rehearsal of that park scene, Detrick is found sitting on a park bench surrounded by his luggage, enveloped in his bitterness. He has left home but refuses to admit he’s homeless. Williams and Tiasha Solomon recognize him and ask what he’s doing. He avoids their questions and responds to Williams’ flirting, only to be rebuffed.
A police officer, played by Randy Knox, interrupts the group, letting them know the park closes in 15 minutes. The ladies agree to leave, but Detrick expresses that he’ll leave the park when he’s ready. This leads to a slight confrontation where Detrick is almost arrested. After releasing him, Knox gives the young man his business card and tells him to call him if he ever needs help, then he reminds him he has to get out of the park. Though he accepts the card, Detrick refuses to admit he needs anyone’s help.
During a recent rehearsal of the scene, Lovette speaks up from his director’s chair among the pews, telling Knox he needs to be more vocal in his insistence that Detrick has to leave the park. The local actors then replayed that scene a couple times to get it right. Once they had the scene down to Lovette’s satisfaction, the actors shuffled around the furniture at the front of the church and prepared to rehearse another scene. Lovette said they planned to rehearse the play every evening until Friday.
While discussing the play with community leaders, Lovette said he met some homeless families. After talking with them, he invited them to come to Friday night’s production. Lovette said he could sense some anger in them, probably about their situation, and said he believed they might benefit from watching his play and perhaps realize there is hope.
Mount Zion Baptist Church is at 1370 Shaw Road in Hinesville. For more information, call 876-6579 or 876-5276.