‘Not a church play’ at Dobson church

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
Jennifer Chelgren as Maw, pleading with Jesus, played by Mitch Stanley. -
A courtroom scene from the play “Letting Go.” -
John Kennedy singing “No More,” accompanied by the Salem Baptist Church choir. -
A corrections officer, portrayed by Rob Chelgren, stands watch over a prisoner, played by Craig Boyette. - -

DOBSON — Salem Baptist Church will present expanded encore performances this weekend of a play that enjoyed a successful run there last year.

“Letting Go,” a play by Sanford pastor Cal Sayles, will be performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the church sanctuary at 7 p.m. each night.

“This is the second year we’ve done it,” said Dan Hornak, who directed the play. “People see it and want other people to see it. They want to see it again. And we get a second chance at making it better.”

The playwright has given Hornak permission to add material to the play. Several cast members who performed in the play last year will return, but in different roles.

“People who saw it last year will see more,” said Hornak. “There’s a live band, a vibrant choir. It’s a spiritual journey of returning to faith.”

Having a running time of not much more than an hour, the drama addresses complex issues with a plot that is ripped straight from the headlines.

A good kid, beloved by the grandmother who raised him, showering him with the love and attention she failed to give to his mother, runs into trouble at his high school graduation with a nobody kid from school — someone who has been rejected by everyone and spins out of control.

“It’s a contemporary play, but we still have Jesus in it,” said Hornak.

There are also scenes portraying Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker and Christian, who helped many Jews escape from the Holocaust during World War II. She was imprisoned by the Nazis for her actions and has a scene with one of her Nazi captors.

“It’s not a church play. It’s more glorifying God as a ministry. It’s rare for a churchgoer to be part of a ministry where you reach so many people.”

In discussing “Letting Go,” Hornak keeps returning to the theme of forgiveness and the nature of forgiveness. “Forgive to be forgiven” is his tag line for the show.

“Unforgiveness makes us a prisoner,” he said. “You’re the prisoner. Forgiveness isn’t just for the wrong-doer. If you hold a grudge, it’s like taking poison. You’re giving free rent in your head to the person who wronged you.”

“There’s so much mistrust in this country. How can you forgive someone you don’t trust? How do you get together if you don’t trust? How do you work anything out?”

Salem’s production of “Letting Go” will be only the third showing the play has had. The playwright, Pastor Cal Sayles, produced it in a theater in Sanford. Salem produced it in their sanctuary in 2017 and will open the third production of the Friday evening.

“Letting Go” is not recommended for small children as there is a violent scene performed on a blacked-out stage. Free child care is provided for children up to age 12.

“How often do you go to see a play and get free child care?” laughed Hornak.

Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 7 p.m. The play is free and there is plenty of parking, but Hornak recommends arriving at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. performance to get a good seat. Salem Baptist Church is located on Rockford Road, off U.S. 601, in Dobson.

Jennifer Chelgren as Maw, pleading with Jesus, played by Mitch Stanley.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_IMG9508091.jpgJennifer Chelgren as Maw, pleading with Jesus, played by Mitch Stanley.

A courtroom scene from the play “Letting Go.”
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_IMG9508441.jpgA courtroom scene from the play “Letting Go.”

John Kennedy singing “No More,” accompanied by the Salem Baptist Church choir.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_IMG9508271.jpgJohn Kennedy singing “No More,” accompanied by the Salem Baptist Church choir.

A corrections officer, portrayed by Rob Chelgren, stands watch over a prisoner, played by Craig Boyette.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_IMG9507871.jpgA corrections officer, portrayed by Rob Chelgren, stands watch over a prisoner, played by Craig Boyette.
Expanded encore performances of successful 2017 play

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.