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Lovette play kicks off MLK observances
The cast includes, from left, in back, Jasmine Tyson, Sideeq Heard, Cecilia Milledge, in front, Charlotte Lovette-Norman, Ann Baker, Kenneth Howard, Randy Knox, Ritchie Anderson, Larry Baker and Anthony Johnson. - photo by Photos by Media on the Move

MLK observance events

• The play “Operation Old School” debuts at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ. Admission is free.
• Leadership breakfast to be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 at Old Dorchester Center.
• Youth Explosion featuring the Dream Choir and announcement of the 2010 poster contest winners at 6:30 p.m. at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, 809 Frank Cochran Drive, Hinesville.
• Churches will hold worship services in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
• The City of Hinesville will hold a parade and commemorative service. The parade begins downtown at 10 a.m. Following the parade a service will be held inside Bradwell Institute’s gym. The Rev. Ashley Johnson Morris of St. James AME Church of Jones, Ga., will deliver a keynote address.

A play about janitors mentoring high school students reflects the theme “Back to the Basics … Doing the Right Thing,” on which this year’s Martin Luther King Day events are based.
The play, “Operation Old School,” written by Liberty County Commissioner (District 2) Donald Lovette, will debut at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ at 809 Frank Cochran Drive in Hinesville. Admission is free.
Lovette said the title of his Martin Luther King Day celebratory show defines the fictitious janitors’ mission — to get involved and offer guidance to today’s youth. It is a lesson he hopes to share with residents of all backgrounds in the community.
“We have to get involved,”
Lovette said. “We can’t just sit by and watch our young
generation fall. We have to be a village.”
The humorous plot, the commissioner said, develops when the janitors implement their “Operation Old School Movement,” risking their jobs by going against school policy. The adults in the play reach out to troubled students, teaching them to value education, honesty and trustworthiness, and to reject bad behaviors like drug use.
“These are all very current issues,” Lovette said. “The play shows even a janitor can make a difference. Anyone can make a difference, whoever you are, wherever you are.”
The playwright said theater can be an effective tool for promoting positive values and morals.
“Theater is transcending,” he said. “Everyone loves a good show. It’s a unique way to tell a good story. We only mention Dr. King’s name twice in the play, but the janitors’ movement is similar to the civil rights movement in that I’m calling them to (non-violent) action.”
Lovette said he has volunteered to work with youth over the years, and began writing plays for his church in order to get young people involved in a productive activity. He said theater helps students learn to articulate and build self-esteem.
“They’re doing a marvelous job in rehearsals,” he said Monday.
The commissioner said some of his regular cast members won roles in “Operation Old School,” and there are some newcomers to the stage as well.
Hinesville’s Assistant City Manager Ken Howard plays James, and Richie Anderson plays Luther – a hilarious character according to Lovette. Charlotte Lovette Norman portrays Janice, and Larry Baker plays a school board member.
Students from Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School take on roles of the students in Lovette’s play. Some of the young actors include Shakur Freeney, Rachean Ford, Sideeq Heard and Javon James.
Lovette has gained a reputation as a local playwright. He has been writing plays for about 20 years.
“Every March, we (Lovette’s church members) do a black history play. In May, we do a Mother’s Day play, and we do a youth play each July,” he said. Last August, Lovette’s play “Mama, Turn the Radio On” was staged for the second consecutive year. He doesn’t plan to slow down, either.
“I might do one between Christmas and New Year’s,” he said.
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