Empower Magazine Gives “My Heart and Hope” a Thumbs Up!
“My Heart and Hope is a play that opens wide the pain and hurts that can turn the heart in murderous and self-destructive directions if not surrendered to God. The author provides an unflinching and sobering depiction of the consequences of allowing your wounds to wound others rather than seeking healing and transformation through God’s love and forgiveness.
– Empower Magazine –
The stage play, “My Heart and Hope” brought the tough issues of child abuse, family secrets, and an unrepentant heart center stage at TSU’s Sawyer Auditorium Saturday night.
Written by, Charmette Jones, founder of Shamelessly Saved Productions, the play opens on the lives of a “happy and faith-filled family” who look the part on the surface but behind the scenes are not what they appear to be.
“I was inspired to write the stage play “My Heart and Hope after I had finished the novel. As I prayed on the details of the play, realizing that it may cause some controversy, I had to step forward and do what God asked me to do. The impact was so powerful on that very night from the opening dance to the climatic ending. I believe God’s anointing rested on every heart that was present in the Sawyer Auditorium,” said Jones of the play’s debut performance.
The heart-wrenching and emotion-filled play opens in the hospital room of a patient on life support and in the throes of violent seizures. When family members enter, the doctor informs them that their loved one is not expected to survive. The father, a local pastor and man of faith, rejects the medical report and begins calling on God for the final say.
The 13-scene play unfolds in flashback mode as we are introduced to each character involved in the life of a young girl named, Hope, as she is forced to reveal painful secrets that will shine the light on the hidden abuse and hatred that has been embedded in the heart of the unlikeliest person – her mother.
The audience journeys back in time to the raw moment when it is revealed that Hope arrives on the scene as an unwanted pregnancy and survives because of her father’s insistence that his daughter’s life not be terminated.
It is later shared that Hope’s mother’s decision to continue her pregnancy also was influenced by her sister who unconditionally lavishes love on her niece and vicariously lives out her own desire for a child.
The play fast forwards to Hope’s 13th birthday where, in a slow reveal, the audience begins to see the underbelly of Hope’s family life as she tortuously hangs in the balance between her father’s total devotion and her mother’s emotional abandonment and hatred.
When Hope’s father discovers that his wife’s disdain for her daughter has taken a physical turn, the family’s life begins to unravel at rapid speed leaving Hope’s mother at the mercy of the authorities.
For actress Victoria Baynes Lopez, who plays Hope as a young teenager, the play was more than a performance. “This play wasn’t just a play, it was an entertaining group of actors helping lost souls to find God and religion,” said Lopez, who looks forward to future performances of the play.
Cast members enjoyed a wonderful camaraderie in working together on the play, but also met with a number of challenges bringing the play to life onstage, according to the Houston playwright.
“The cast did an outstanding performance although behind the scenes we were under great attack. I had one dancer sick and throwing up from the time she arrived at the auditorium. I told her that she did not have to dance and she said to me, ‘I have to’. I looked into her eyes and her sad little face and, said, ‘okay’. I watched in amazement as she lifted her angel wings and began to spin around. It was as though the Holy Spirit had picked her up in His arms and carried her,” said Jones.
“I also had another little girl throwing up as well. And she played one of the lead roles, her name is Victoria Baynes Lopez. To see this young lady perform, you would have never known that her body was under attack as well,” said Jones.
Through flashbacks and the depiction of surreal spiritual encounters, Jones’ expertly weaves her tale of the consequences a mother and daughter face when they carry bitterness and hatred from past abuse into the future. When given a decision to lay it at the foot of the cross – Hope’s mother refuses, and chooses instead to hold on to the pain, bitterness and hatred that would cost her life and eternal salvation.
Pastor Adrienne Rowe, who portrays the character of Anita, Hope’s mother, hopes that her portrayal of Anita will help people to look past her character’s hatefulness and see her pain.
“There are many Anita’s in the church today. People that have been hurt and abused by life. The truth is, Anita allowed the pain of her past to harden her heart to a place of no return. She was so blinded by the pain that she couldn’t see the love, blessings, grace and mercy that God continued to place in her life.
“My heart’s desire is that we will continue to pursue the Anita’s in our life with the love of God not the hand of wrath. I pray that every Anita that see’s this production will come to herself/himself and know that God can and will restore their life. It’s never too late to accept the Love of Christ and begin to walk down the road of total restoration. God NEVER created hell for his children. He does not want any of us to go to hell, but the choice is ultimately ours to choose,” said Rowe.
For Kim Baynes, mother of the the actress who played a young Hope, the play evoked a range of emotions. “I cried, I laughed and I loved the author because she placed light in dark places on things people do not want to speak about. However the true message for me is that God gives you so many chances to hear him and because of our pain, hardship, trials, where we feel empty and nothing seems to touch that spot He gives you the opportunity everyday to come back to Him. He is Love and can fix whatever is broken.
“But when your life is over and your choices have become your life – there will be a judgement and those who have watched over you can not help you -it is based on your heart-and that is what moved me – Ms. Jones let us see the end – and gives us an opportunity to tell others to turn back towards God,” said Baynes.
In a unique twist, the stage play, which is a promo to the book, tells only a portion of Hope’s story, ending with a dramatic and emotional cliffhanger. The Houston author invites audience members, and others, to purchase the book to discover the final outcome of Hope’s fate.
To purchase a copy of the book, visit Amazon.com.