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Play chronicles life of Christ

April 05, 1999

Church PlayBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




HALFWAY - In what is becoming a local Easter holiday event, a cast of more than 100 Virginia Avenue Church of God members performed "His Story," a musical tribute to Jesus Christ on Sunday.

The 1 hour, 50 minute play depicts Jesus' life from birth to death to resurrection in a series of 20 scenes adapted from the Bible by Director Dana Cline.

Sunday's performance garnered a crowd of 500 people. Others given the previous weekend also were to large crowds, said Cline.

"We have had an overwhelming response. People have come from all over to see it," she said.

The church started holding the play last year with about 50 participants.

"We had so much undiscovered talent," she said of the cast members.

The performance changes each year, with different songs, dialogue and scenes, she said. Preparations for the play begin in January and the roles are cast by February, she said.

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The play features acting and singing performances by church members of all ages, she said.

Other church members contribute in preparing the casts' clothing and makeup, the set, lighting and props, she said.

Cline said one of the key elements to the play's success is its elaborate set. Eight-foot high faux stone and brick walls line the church's sanctuary. A landscape scene adorns the rear wall.

Special sound effects and red, blue and white lighting complete the ambiance.

"I want people to feel immersed in it," Cline said.

She hopes to entertain with her play but above all show the power of Jesus, she said.

"This is my ministry," she said. The performance is given at no charge so that all people of the community may attend and enjoy it, Cline said.

Cline said the cast and crew worked hard on the play's authenticity.

"The types of costumes and colors we used were like what they had," she said.

Elaborate stage makeup for the characters helped to make the performance more profound, she said.

The character of Jesus, played by Associate Pastor Shawn Bushman required two separate applications taking about two hours.

Though Bushman has no former acting experience, Cline said she initially selected him for the role because she felt he resembled Jesus.

After she discovered Bushman had natural acting ability, Cline said she expanded his lines and scenes this year.

Bushman said he enjoys being part of the annual play.

The most challenging part of the role is "trying to do everything you consider to be God or divine - his demeanor and attitude," he said.

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