Performing plays is nothing new for members of the congregation at Salem Baptist Church, but this weekend the church will play host to its most challenging production to date, said the director for the play.
Dan Hornak, who directs a number of plays at the Dobson church, said on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the church will perform “Letting Go,” a contemporary drama which offers “a journey of human experience.”
Hornak said the play tangles with a number of issues in society, ranging from teen pregnancy to forgiveness.
A young woman becomes a mother during her teen years when baby Hannah is born, said Hornak. Hannah grows up without a significant level of love and support which might be expected in the life of a child. After going her own way in life, she too becomes a teen mom.
Hornak said Hannah drops the baby off at the home of Maw, who raises the baby boy as her own, providing all of the love and nurturing she failed to give Hannah.
All goes well with baby Samuel until his senior year of high school, when a kid who had been picked on and who had been “invisible” to popular students shows up at a graduation party. After words are exchanged and soda cans are thrown, the invisible teen leaves. He returns with a gun.
While Samuel attempts to talk to the armed teen, a football player tries to tackle the kid. As the stage goes dark, the gun goes off. Samuel is dead.
Some years later, it is revealed that the invisible kid is the narrator. He has been imprisoned for life, a matter which addresses the prosecution of minors as adults, another debate in society.
In the end, the grandmother is faced with forgiving the person who killed — though accidentally — her grandson. She can’t do that until she learns a lesson about forgiveness.
A lady provides some insight by pointing at a cross and saying, “Only he can forgive.”
Looking back on her own life, the woman realizes she can’t be forgiven for any of her transgressions until she forgives the person who killed her grandson. That stated, it does take a visit from Samuel’s spirit and Christ for her to arrive at the conclusion.
In the end, the woman forgives the man in court, and the judge vacates the life sentence. When she turns to the audience in the courtroom she finds her daughter, and the two set out to forge the relationship they never had.
Hornak said it’s a lesson of forgiveness from which all can learn. Everybody has grudges. It isn’t easy, and it often takes the help of prayer and the Spirit, but all can forgive.
Hornak said the play is quite the piece of work. This weekend will be only the second time the play, written by Pastor Calvin Sayles of Jonesboro Baptist Church in Sanford, has been performed. It incorporates music performed by a live band and choir.
“The music supports the drama, and the drama supports the music,” explained Hornak.
That stated, he noted the play is not for everybody. Children 12 and under should not attend. However, childcare will be provided at the church free of charge.
The performances are free to the public and begin at 7 p.m. Hornak said those involved have put a lot of time and effort into what will be “a gift to the community from the church.”
“It offers a number of unique twists and a lot of challenges,” said Hornak. “It is the hardest and best play we have ever done.”
Salem Baptist Church is located at 430 Rockford Road.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.