“It’s the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. If you’ve heard it before, it’s easy to get numbed to (it),” said Mortimer, the church’s drama director.
That’s why her latest production, Manger to Majesty, is told from a new perspective – that of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
More than 50 church members will participate in the production, which will be performed twice on Palm Sunday, the day that commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem days before his crucifixion.
River of Life, however, isn’t the only church supplying talent for the production. Songwriter Dawn Summers, of Aiken, will debut an original song, and several members of Congregation Beth Shalom in North Augusta will dance.
The Messianic Jewish congregation incorporates dance into its worship. On stage, nearly a dozen members will dance to the song Hine Ma Tov.
“It means ‘in unity,” said Jim Allison, one of the dancers. “It’s fitting.”
Manger to Majesty is one of several plays Mortimer has written to be performed at the church, but the first to be told from Mary’s point of view.
“This is a play the Lord gave me to write. It includes the traditional story, because it’s integral to our faith, but with the storytelling, we go outside the box a bit,” she said. “It’s multi-cultural. It’s multi-racial. It’s all ages. I believe everyone will be blessed by it.”
Carla Cloud, of Aiken, narrates the play.
“It’s a very powerful show,” she said. “You see God’s church. Not a church, but the church coming together.”
“Even in rehearsals, you feel God’s presence,” she said. “That’s what people want – a place to encounter God. If they come and seek him, they will find him here.”