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Gospel playwright's work opens at the PAC

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Annetta Swift, a budding gospel playwright and leader of the drama team at Living Faith Tabernacle in Forest Park, will premiere her latest stage play on Sept. 19.

"Where Do We Go From Here," will be performed at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center (PAC), starting at 7:30 p.m.

The play is Swift's second to be performed at the PAC, following "Love Under New Management," which premiered last year.

The new play, written and directed by Swift, features the character, Carla, a young woman who is trapped between her fleshly desires and her desire to maintain appearances for her boyfriend, Bernard, who is a minister.

"She is at a crossroads," said Swift of Jackson's character. "The main character finds herself in hypocrisy, trying to uphold the ideals of being a Christian, but that brings her to a breaking point.

"She is tired of faking it, so she stops and goes against God," Swift continued. However, "there is a tragedy that takes place that makes her make a choice."

The play features a dozen significant characters, including: Tiny, a not-so-tiny man in his forties who has fathered several children by several women; Harriet, Tiny's mother and a devout Christian who tries to guide her son to the light; Pastor Rivers, a confidant to Bernard; and Ernestine, a judgmental Christian who constantly quotes her own version of the Gospel.

Chris Bowen, head pastor of Living Faith Tabernacle, said that last year, the church requested performance space from the PAC with seating capacity for 1,200 people. This year, that space has been increased to 1,800.

"This year, we have rented out the entire facility, so our intention is to pack the PAC," said Bowen. "[Being in the PAC] just gives a different atmosphere to bring people who normally wouldn't come to church and entertain them through the Gospel.

"There will be some things that will impact their lives, because they will relate to the characters," said Bowen.

"I have truly been touched by the play," said Lori Weems, who plays Ernestine. "This play actually touches many aspects of a person's life. There are many parts of the play that a person will be able to relate to very easily."

"It's a serious play, but it has a lot of humor, so people should leave the play happy, period," said Gaye Griffieth, who plays Harriet. "I hope that people can walk away being encouraged by this play, no matter what anybody has done or said."

The Clayton County Performing Arts Center is located at 2530 Mt. Zion Road in Jonesboro. Tickets for the play are $15 at the door. For more information, call Living Faith Tabernacle at (404) 361-0812.