Gospel play is sure to make audience members laugh and cry

Feb. 11, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2011 at 8:11 p.m.

LaRaine Duhart

LaRaine Duhart

Writing about issues that comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable is nothing new for playwright and producer LaRaine Duhart.

Her latest play, "Repent and Let's Have Church 2: Aunt Ida Strikes Back," which is scheduled to be in Victoria on Saturday, holds true to this ideal.

"This show is about the church. God is not satisfied with the way some churches are today," said Duhart, as she described her play. "It's not about saving souls anymore, it's about what they can gain."

Duhart's experience with writing about controversial issues began at an early age.

During the racial turmoil of the 1960s, the Corpus Christi native said she began writing her thoughts in a journal.

"There was a lot going on during that time. I'd express my feelings through my writing," said Duhart, who declined to give her age. "The suffering of others, that's what made me write."

After graduating from Texas A&I University in 1986, Duhart honored her mother's dying wish of forgoing a career in law and instead pursue a career in writing.

Duhart's first poetry book "Emotions of Life," was published in 2005.

Eventually, she branched out to writing screenplays.

To date, Duhart has written 13 screenplays, including "Repent and Let's Have Church," which debuted as a stage play in October.

"Repent and Let's Have Church" was Duhart's first gospel screenplay and the precursor to her current play.

Duhart, who is a pastor's daughter, said God put it on her heart to create Repent 1 and 2.

"One would call it a word from God," said Duhart. "There are pastors that have mistresses in the church who are actually fighting in the church over him. Then some pastors out there are taking money from the church."

She continued, "The play is reaching to those who are in the church and those who are in the church, but really out of church.

Victoria will be the debut performance of a four-week tour for "Repent 2."

The play, which is being brought to Victoria by St. Peter's Missionary Baptist Church, will serve not only as a Black History event, but also as a fundraiser to help St. Peter's raise money toward rebuilding their church, which was destroyed by a fire in February 2009.

"I'm excited about performing in Victoria," said cast member Amy Bryant, who plays the character Samantha Moore.. "Anytime we are able to come together to help another ministry, it is very exciting for me."

Cast members urge people who may have seen "Repent 1" to come out to see part 2.

"With 2, they will be left with a cliffhanger," said 33-year-old Rachel Brittpenham, who works as a stage manager for the play. "The climax is a little bit more dramatic and shocking.

"There is someone out there that has gone through, is going through or is about to go through what's on stage," said Duhart. "This story will make you laugh and cry all in one night."



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