‘A good and wholesome message’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006

As luck would have it, Jay Shows answered the phone the day the Rev. Lance E. Brown called the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce from Detroit, Mich.

He had picked up the phone, so now he had to listen to Brown’s story.

“I’m Saved,” a play performed by the Public Awareness Theatre, Inc. of Detroit, was going on tour to 36 small cities across the country and Brown wanted to his traveling ministry to send a message Demopolis residents through theatrics.

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Although some people call the Chamber asking for help on what may seem like a hopeless business endeavor, after hearing his story, the city’s Industrial Board director wanted to see more. Thus, Shows temporarily stepped outside of his IDB role, put on his interested citizen cap, and threw a few venue ideas Brown’s way.

“I thought it would be good for the area,” Shows said. “It just seemed like it has a good wholesome message and my enthusiasm for it came from me as a citizen.”

Thus, after hearing Shows’ suggestions for a local space with ample room for his set, Brown made the decision to bring “I’m Saved” to the family life center at Demopolis’ Christian Chapel Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Friday, May 12, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 13.

“Some of the best people in the world are from the south. I am elated about coming there,” said the Louisiana native. “The Demopolis/ Livingston region is actually a prime area for cultural arts but most people don’t take that into consideration. No one comes to Demopolis and it’s overlooked.”

But, Brown has taken the necessary steps to bring his acting crew to town to perform his “one of a kind play.”

“I’m Saved” touches on many things that other plays don’t in a way that other performances avoid, Brown said, it’s not all comedy and it packs a powerful message.

“It focuses on the inadequacies of the church, but it shows hope,” he said, “It shows that no matter who we are and where we want to go, we can’t get there without God.”

With Anthony Hardaway as the small and loud “the Rev. Dr. B.B. Smallpop III,” Mobile native J. Magic Hunter as the flamboyant “Brother Sweet,” Darlene Shuffer as the bully church choir president “Sis. Tunnie Mae,” and Carol Franklin as the straight forward “Sister Carrie Ann” who uses a certain substance for “medicinal purposes,” Brown said the cast is sure to “take you from a low low, to a high high.”

The play also focuses on a former church member who has transformed into the neighborhood drug addict, and a former “thug” who now wants to give his life to Jesus.

“It’s a quality production with a message,” Brown said, “Now it’s time to see if Demopolis will accept it.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at the Nile Beauty Salon, 306 E. Washington St., Mullen’s Barber Shop, 1113 Floyd St., and Christian Chapel Baptist Church.

“People will get a kick out of what’s being said and what’s being done on the stage,” Brown said. “If you come, I pray that you enjoy yourselves and go home with a positive message.”