Donald Lovette is a man who gives life to the characters he sees in his mind’s eyes.
Explaining that he has dabbled in theater all his life, Donald Lovette is the founder of Love-it Productions and writes and produces his own plays.
“I see the faces of my characters in my mind,” Lovette said with a humble smile, explaining how he “convinces” people he knows to play a certain part. “I match the personalities of my characters to people I know whose personality fit that character. I like real life stories, especially untold history.”
His newest play, “With My Spiritual Eyes, I Can See,” was staged Friday night at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
As he prepared to rehearse his latest production, Lovette talked about another play, “The Tragedy at Ebenezer Creek,” which he said focused on the untold story of betrayal by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army as it burned a path through Georgia.
Thousands of newly freed African-Americans followed Sherman’s army, but on Dec. 9, 1864, at Ebenezer Creek near Effingham, when Sherman’s forces crossed the creek on wooden pontoons, the order was given to take up the pontoons and not allow the freed slaves to cross. Hundreds drowned trying to swim the swollen creek to avoid being cut down or captured by Confederate forces.
“I like ‘the rest of the story’ themes,” Lovette said, alluding to radio commentator Paul Harvey’s radio program. “This was a tragedy that you don’t hear much about and won’t find in most history books, so I felt like it was a story that needed to be told.”
Lovette said he has lived his entire life in Liberty County, noting that his grandparents lived near Taylors Creek, which is now part of Fort Stewart. A lifetime member of Pleasant Grove AME Church in Hinesville, he admitted that many of his plays have a church-related theme with a spiritual message, including one he wrote for Mother’s Day.
“Many people haven’t progressed in life because they haven’t personally overcome their past,” he said, explaining the message his newest play conveys. “Like a heavy weight, they carry their past with them. This play tells them not to set limits for themselves, to rise above it all.”
In addition to being a playwright, Lovette is a Liberty County commissioner and director of laboratory services at Liberty Regional Medical Center. Supervising a staff of 25 and working on community development projects for the county are roles that suit this hometown dramatist.
His favorite role, however, is being able to tell a story that can inspire others, especially young adults.
“Many of our youth fail to use their resources such as family, friends, teachers and community leaders, and they struggle unnecessarily,” he said, explaining that his newest play focuses on these resources and reminds both the young and old the importance of values. “This play emphasizes the value of good manners, character and family values.”