Actors use faith to tackle real-life issues in new gospel drama - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Actors use faith to tackle real-life issues in new gospel drama

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) -

Domestic violence can often be a difficult topic to discuss, which is why a Colonial Heights playwright in conjunction with entertainment group Reach Ministries decided to make it the focus of a gospel drama that met considerable praise upon its recent debut.

More than 200 people packed the Colonial Heights Middle School auditorium Saturday to catch the riveting production "A House is Not a Home," a play featuring a live band, animated actors, and singers sharing the importance of breaking out of circumstances that keep people from living their potential and living in an unhappy home.

"I've lived this play. Coming out of a domestic abuse situation myself, I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to live in a nice house or if I wanted peace. I chose to leave," said playwright Selina Dowe.

So, she penned several real-life scenarios into a 3-hour production that mixes comedy with tear-jerking moments all circled around finding faith to get through emotional and physical abuse, infidelity, alcohol abuse and feelings of defeat.

"It takes hands to build a house, but it takes love to build a home," one character told another during an emotional scene.

The audience gasped at some of the brow-raising scenarios, like a woman afraid to escape an abusive relationship, only finding the strength to escape once her children witnessed it.

Dowe not only wrote the production, she also held a lead role, playing the wife of a newly appointed church pastor who forsakes his marriage by spending excess time working in his new capacity. Dowe says these are issues people quietly face everyday.

"Sometimes you may be living in a situation that you think is normal but the people on the outside looking in and can really see the danger of it and the harm it can cause to the family," she said.

Scenes met outbursts from the crowd ranging from cheers to applause when characters portrayed issues audience members could relate to.

"I've seen this writer's plays before. They're very good. They are always very impressionable with a good theme and the actors are good too," said attendee Uthai Hicks-Harris of Mataoca.

She says the $20 dollars she invested to attend the show was well worth the value she got from an evening of entertainment.

"If I went to the Landmark, I'd pay $50 for the same thing, so I don't mind spending $20 for good entertainment," Hicks-Harris added.

It's the first time Dowe has charged attendees to attend her productions. She says a portion of the proceeds collected will be donated to a domestic violence awareness group.

"Someone has to stop the cycle so it doesn't' continue to the next generation," she said.

Dowe says she hopes to bring "A House is Not a Home" to Richmond in 2013, in hopes of it eventually becoming a traveling production.

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