Kenjdra Langston, at left, and Brandi Smith rehearse a scene from the upcoming gospel play, “Oh, My Child,” set to be performed at the Rockdale Auditorium on Sept. 6. (Special Photo)
Growing up in Chicago, as the 10th of 11 children, Rosie McGee said she had a front row seat watching the lives of her siblings and their friends as they navigated the ups and downs of life.
“What I concluded is a person should hope,” McGee said. “While a person hopes, they should breathe great expectations and while a person breathes great expectations, they should accept the challenges of life in order to experience spiritual growth.”
To share that hope for a better life and quest for spiritual growth, McGee has penned a play that will make its Conyers debut next week at the Rockdale Auditorium.
The gospel play, “Oh, My Child” will be performed Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Rockdale Auditorium at 903 Main St. in Conyers with the pre-show at 6 and the play at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $18 at the door. VIP tickets are also available for $23 in advance or $28 at the door and include seating in the first five rows and a gift bag.
“Oh, My Child” is the story of a group of small-town Christians who know each other in church, but do not know each other’s secrets.
“They all stood next to each other in church each Sunday, but a strange twist occurred … ” McGee said of the characters in “Oh, My Child.” “Leola was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia. Alice was suffering from post-traumatic disorder after being raped by her stepfather when her mother was hooked on drugs. Helen was confused about being gay or straight. Pastor Wright was a wife beater who straightened up after serving time in prison and Butch, the town drunk, was in love with the missionary.”
McGee, an Atlanta resident and retired naval instructor for the U.S. Navy, said she wrote the play as a way to help people in tough situations.
“Many people are hurting and some have not forgiven others or perhaps don’t know how to forgive the person or persons who hurt them,” McGee said. “I illustrate real-life situations that actually are happening today and show others how to rise above hatred and how to reach for love instead. (The play shows) that the act of forgiving others will actually deliver a person from self-destruction.”
Presented by New Next Generation, the gospel play is part of God’s Spotlight Ministries based out of Dallas, Texas. The play is on tour and has already been performed in San Diego, Dallas, Odessa and Houston, Texas; a venue in Maryland and Carrollton prior to its Conyers performance next week.
“It is the story about the value of forgiving and also being delivered from our own negative vices that bring mental and emotional harm upon ourselves,” McGee said. “The characters portray a group of small-town people who saluted each other daily, ate together and attended church together, but not one of them knew the dark secrets that were in the others’ homes.
“Leola was an adulterer and confessed it in the middle of the restaurant where all of the church members were eating. This caused a firestorm and everyone from the church began to confess every dark thing that they had done. Even the town drunk confessed that he was in love with the missionary. Well, this led them all right back to the church for repentance.”
McGee said she is excited about bringing the play to Conyers.
“One of Conyers’ own citizens is featured in this dynamic play,” McGee said of Melissa Cephus, a vocal artists who performs
throughout north Georgia.
Cephus will be among the line up of pre-show gospel artists who will perform on stage before the play begins. Other performers include Arnetta Spears, a gospel vocal artist from Corinth, Miss., and Manifess, a gospel rapper from Atlanta.
Cast members include McGee, Sandra LaSalle, Brandi Smith, Kenjdra Langston, Kendrick Hayes, Mario Chambers, Charlie Williams Sr., Jeff Brison, April Williams, Tonia Jackson, Aija Washington, Janelle Jones, Marlando Clemons and Genese Eboni.
While “Oh, My Child” deals with serious real-life issues, McGee said there is comic relief in certain characters, such as Butch, the town drunk who confesses he is in love with the missionary and gets saved while flirting with her.
The play deals with a range of topics through the lives of its characters, such as Leola, who is one month pregnant, but whose truck driver husband has been gone for three months. Then there is Bobby who attacks his girlfriend, Regina, because she didn’t clean the house and a cast of more than a dozen actors who bring these and the other flawed characters to life.
“This play reaches people of all ages, races, creeds and colors because it is about being human,” McGee said. “It is true that bad things happen to good people, but we illustrate how to forgive those who have broken our minds or our hearts and rid ourselves of the spirit of guilt in order to live spiritually prosperous lives. In other words, we illustrate the process of finding peace within ourselves.”
McGee said she hopes the play will help improve the lives and relationships of those who see it.
“My main goal or hope in this performance is to bring broken families and rejected loved ones into the same circle — a circle that will allow good communication,” McGee said. “(I want to) open the understanding of each other’s faults and errors of the past. Lastly, I hope to help many release their guilt and experience freedom within their mind and spirit.”
For tickets, call 877-408-9194 or go to www.rlmcgee.net.
Beth Slaughter Sexton is a freelance writer based in Walton County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.