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Local playwright sets stage for new production

Gloria Duff held auditions for her upcoming play tentatively titled “Making the Right Choices” on Dec. 27. Auditions were held at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center, but the play’s location, as well as dates and times, have yet to be determined. A second audition date will be announced soon.

Duff’s fourth full-length play will center around bullying and peer pressure, a jump from the gospel plays that she previously produced.

She said she wrote it because “a lot of kids get bullied in high school now, and they have a lot of cyberbullying.”

According to Duff, there are 15 characters in this play. Of those, five are main characters, and three of whom have already been cast. All of the characters are under the age of 25. This will also be Duff’s first play to have teenagers as the leads.

Proceeds from the play will benefit Jack-Corene Community Development Corporation, Inc. in Bellamy. Past donations from the money raised include keyboards and music instructors. Duff hopes to have a drama workshop in the future.

“The main vision that I have—really for the organization—is trying to introduce the arts to the youth in our community,” she said.

Because these plays are fundraisers, Duff relies on outside donations, help from the actors and volunteers and simple storylines in order to keep the costs of set design and costuming at a minimum.

“Whatever play that I put on, I try to make it as simple as possible, so we won’t have to use a whole lot,” Duff said.

Often, the actors will use their own clothing and set pieces will be donated or loaned out for the production. Duff said she also has received monetary donations, though not much.

In general, Duff seems to be the driving force behind her productions. She is often in charge of writing, directing, producing, costuming, casting and set design.

“It’s a process, but if you’re determined to do it, you’ll follow through,” she said.

Her main role is writing, and she often works until midnight perfecting her scripts. Sometimes, she even rewrites lines according to the actor that is cast in the role. While her first full-length play was staged in 2015, writing has been a passion of Duff’s since she was a child.

Duff said she is “very excited” for the upcoming production, and she hopes that it has a positive impact on the audience.

“I just really want to help people change somebody’s heart for the better.”

For more information on the upcoming play and audition, call Gloria Duff at 205-499-8760.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, December 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)