Angels on a journey of discovery at Christmas
The play Angels in Black explores what it means to celebrate Christmas and honour a true and meaningful relationship with Christ.
Written by Gloria Francis, it runs tomorrow at the New Testament Church of God Heritage Worship Centre.
As a child, the playwright worshipped at the House of Prayer with her family. It was a very religious and strict environment and, at 13, Mrs Francis decided to leave the church.
“I wanted to experience life, so I decided to give it up,” she recalled.
Despite that, she carried three words with her — prayer changes things. And so when she decided, at age 24, to leave Bermuda for a yearlong African adventure, she prayed for protection.
In exchange, she promised she would consider returning to church.
God kept His end of the bargain, but Mrs Francis forgot all about hers until she was invited to join a community choir.
Although she didn’t initially realise it, it was her first step back into the church.
Mrs Francis finally surrendered to God’s call in 1972 after hearing Reverend Blanche Burchall preach at Bright Temple AME Church.
She remembers listening to Ms Burchall and seeing a joy in her that she longed for, despite having a good job and a wonderful husband. She rejoined the church in search of it.
Thirty years later, Mrs Francis is still full of the joy of the Lord. Now retired, she shares her joy in creative ways, one of which includes writing satirical Christian-themed plays.
The storyline for Angels in Black dropped into her spirit and “basically wrote itself”; its name taken from the hit film, Men In Black. Without giving too much away, the angels are sent to earth on an important assignment to find “true” Christians who celebrate Christmas.
Based on their limited understanding of humans, the angels begin their search by looking for the loudest worshipper in the congregation. The angels then follow the worshipper home to learn more about their relationship with Christ.
As explained by Mrs Francis: “The angels in black are God’s private eyes on earth.”
The production was designed to focus “on religious idiosyncrasies and fallacies” that are present within our various church communities.
“I want people to leave having enjoyed a good laugh but also reflecting on what it means to be a Christian. Christianity is a lifestyle, not a display,” Mrs Francis said.
Leroy Francis and Anneka Allen are angels E & T, James Howard III plays Pastor Gullible and Nick Wadson is Bishop Inna Bagg. Also featured are Sarita Ebbin as Evangelist Speaksin Tongs and Troy Washington Sr as Jesus in Disguise.
•Put on by L Francis Productions, Angels in Black runs tomorrow at 6.30pm at the Heritage Worship Centre on Dundonald Street. Tickets, $35 for patrons, $15 for children and $20 general admission, can be purchased through Gloria Francis on 735-8549
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