by Lorie Lewis Ham
This past weekend E & e Performing Arts Center in Kingsburg took a bold leap and opened an original play called Rahab. The play is adapted from the book Unashamed:Rahab by Francine Rivers. Rahab is a character from a story in the Bible.
In Rahab, a city harlot risks her life to put her faith in the unknown God of her enemies. The book and play provide an insider’s perspective on the battle of Jericho. As two Israelite spies descend upon Jericho, the people of the city tremble in fear as they blindly follow their king. The spies find refuge with the prostitute, not knowing it would change their lives, and history, forever. “Rahab” is deeply woven, exploring issues of faith, fear, love, and second chances.
“I read the novel last January,” said Chelsey Carlson who adapted the book and co directed the play with Kylie Davis. “As I read the story I thought it could be great on the stage. After multiple instances of God nudging me and not allowing me to let the idea fade, I told Lissa and Corey Engstrom, owners of E&e, about the idea. They loved it. I contacted the publisher of the book and they put a request in to the author. Miraculously, we got permission to adapt the book into a script and perform it for a one-time run only at E&e. I spent several weeks turning the book into a script, and here we are now!”
Chelsey found directing the 38-member cast of actors in this never before produced show both exciting and challenging. The cast includes actors from Kingsburg, Dinuba and Reedley. “It is incredible to bring a show to life from the very beginning, knowing that it has never been done before.”
Getting permission to write and produce the show was the first hurdle that Chelsey had to face, but she felt that this show would bring something very special to audiences because it is different and unexpected. Her next challenge was in knowing when to draw the line on script edits. “When actors have the playwright as their director, they feel free to ask to change lines. I can edit more and more each day, but eventually I had to decide to call it good and ask people to stick with the script.”
Another challenge was that of costuming which was handled by Tamara Norris of Tamara Lynn Designs. Local churches allowed E & e to borrow their Bible time period costumes and Tamara then set about the challenge of putting it all together. “She has brought them all together and they look fantastic,” said Chelsey.
Chelsey said she is so thankful to Lissa and Corey Engstrom and Laura Vallenari for mentoring her in her theatre experiences and giving her the incredible opportunity to put Rahab on stage. “I hope that audiences are moved by this show.”
Remaining performance dates for Rahab are Oct. 21-23 at 7 p.m. and October 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 Adults, $10 Students/Seniors and are sold online or at the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce. The show is performed at the Draper Street Theatre at 1440 Draper Street in Kingsburg.