Originally created 10/07/04

Theatre company prepares for opening of musical 'Creation'



During rehearsal Thursday night in a warehouse, Joey Hilliard and Christine Ellison passed an invisible apple back and forth to jokingly tempt the cast members.

Mr. Hilliard and Mrs. Ellison play Adam and Eve in the Enopion Theatre Company's Creation, which opens Nov. 20 at the Imperial Theatre on Broad Street. Enopion, Greek for "within sight of the Lord," is a nonprofit theater company.

Carol Rezzelle, who founded Enopion, started writing the play in November 2002.

"Carol does plays taken from the Bible. She brings the Scriptures to life; it really opens your eyes," Mr. Hilliard said. "I've never done anything like this. I've never had any drama experience - I really didn't know what to expect.

"As many times as I've read the Bible and the story of the creation, putting it into a drama has really opened my eyes."

While writing the script, Mrs. Rezzelle said, she began having problems with the dialogue between Lucifer and the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Her problems were solved after reading Chronicles of the Host 1: Exile of Lucifer, by the Rev. D. Brian Shafer, of Pleasanton, Calif. Because the book followed a similar story line as her play, Mrs. Rezzelle received permission to use the book's dialogue between the characters in her production.

Mrs. Rezzelle, who is a contractor at Kimberly-Clark Corp. and the music director at Cliffwood Presbyterian Church on Lumpkin Road in Augusta, traveled to area churches with her one-woman production I, Mary for about four years before founding Enopion.

"With the money from I, Mary, I saved it and used it to boost Uncommon Love, (her first major production)," she said. "There are no membership fees (for Enopion), and I don't let the cast spend money for anything. A lot of the expenses come out of my pocket."

Enopion was created out of Mrs. Rezzelle's desire to spread the Gospel - the main reason for the production of Creation, she said.

"You watch TV and there is violence, profanity," she said. "The world is moving toward media - video, music, lights."

Knowing that Hollywood-type productions are popular, she wrote Creation as a musical with recorded soundtracks and video enhancement for a full-scale, inspirational production.

"I've been with Carol for one year now," Mrs. Ellison said. "This is my first big performance. It's getting harder. I'm starting to feel the intensity as the production date gets closer. I'm having to concentrate harder. I just pray and ask God to help me remember (my lines)."

The casting of Wes Lewis as Lucifer was inspired; at least, that is what his friends jokingly say.

"I've done a lot of studying and draw from things that make me angry and sad," he said about preparing for the role. "It's really interesting how he (Lucifer) affects our lives.

"He started out as a regular angel, but somewhere along the line he had to start thinking, 'What if?'"

Mr. Lewis started performing with the Augusta Players in 1998. He also worked with Storyland Theater before joining Enopion.

"The opportunity to be in a Christian theater has been a real blessing. This is a deep story that delves into the fall of man, but it has a redemptive story at the end," he said.

As the soundtrack plays and Mrs. Rezzelle works on the serpent's choreography, Bobby Ross wields a practice sword. Mr. Ross portrays Michael. He and Mr. Lewis are choreographing the "battle of the ages."

To prepare for the sword fight, the duo viewed material from professional fight choreographers.

"It can't look choreographed; it has to look real," Mr. Ross said

Mrs. Rezzelle rents the Imperial Theatre for a rehearsal each month to familiarize the cast with the stage.

"It really helps with the rehearsals," Mr. Hilliard said.

Mrs. Rezzelle said she wishes they could afford to rehearse on a stage all the time.

"We really need to find a place of our own," she said.

For more information about Enopion, call 442-9039 or visit www.imaryproductions.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Enopion Theatre Company's presentation of CreationWHEN: 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 20

WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St., Augusta

COST: $15 adults, $10 for 12 and younger in advance; $20 adults, $15 for 12 and younger day of show

PHONE: (706) 722-8341