Americus, Ga. - August, 16 2001 - Tom DeTitta said his experience as an overseas volunteer on a Habitat for Humanity home-build inspired him to write a play about Habitat homeowners, who rise out of their circumstances to overcome poverty and own their houses.
“Darkness Lifting” examines the lives, dreams and frustrations of five homeowners and their families in Fiji, Ghana, Mexico, Northern Ireland and the United States as they work with volunteers to build their homes. DeTitta says Habitat serves a vital function in that it introduces volunteers to people of different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.
“One thing that has become clear to me is that `help’ is an interactive concept that masquerades as a uni-directional one,” DeTitta said. “People who set out to help others and learn about a foreign culture discover new world in themselves.”
Four actors play 26 parts, including Adrienne Reynolds, who, for example, portrays a 70-year-old grandmother and a 19-year-old woman living in Baltimore’s inner city. Theresa Holmes, Frank Wiley, Jr. and Edd Key are also starring.
“The cross-section of people Habitat accesses is very dramatic. On one hand, the homeowners are often in difficult circumstances - sometimes desperate circumstances. Many have had past problems that were huge,” the playwright said. “Habitat gets these people on an upswing. There’s a problem and then there’s the overcoming of the problem.”
Eddie Lee is the play’s director. He has worked in notable theaters all over the world, including The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to performing in “Darkness Lifting,” Edd Key is also the play’s musical director. His compositions help tie together the play, which takes place in five different countries and cultures.
“Darkness Lifting” will hold its world premier at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7-8 at the Rylander Theater here. It’s located a block away from Habitat for Humanity International’s headquarters, where free entertainment will celebrate the play’s opening on Saturday evening. The New Providence Baptist Choir will kick off the evening fun at 5 p.m., followed by Habitat’s own Myra Hardy, Paul Mills and Friends, and Nashville recording artist Lynn Moon.
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary year, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 79 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families, who pay no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.
Tickets for the play are $10. Group discounts are available. Call the Rylander Theater at (229) 931-0001.