Calvary’s ‘Convinced’ production a test of faith

Mary (Kaitlyn Martinez) and Joseph (Isaac Christiansen) celebrate the birth of Jesus with a choir of angels in the Calvary Church of Dover’s production of “Convinced.” (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Calvary Church of Dover’s annual Easter production. The original production, “Convinced” continues on the stage this weekend.

The show was written and directed by Larry Goldberg, the church’s creative arts minister.

“We were planning on doing a show that had already been written and I was reading over it and started to feel uneasy and like there was a better direction we could take the show,” he said. “

After some praying and talking with the pastor, we finally decided on doing a show about proving the Gospel.”

The play focuses on a healthy debate between two fathers about Christianity and the legitimacy of biblical tales. One father is a Christian while the other is an atheist.

Eli Martinez, left, plays the part of Peter, a scientist who has trouble believing in God. Sam Cruz has the part of Andy, a Christian. The two’s debate, centered around a higher power, forms the crux of the play, “Convinced.”

“I think a lot of people want some kind of proof outside of the Bible when they’re on the fence about faith,” Mr. Goldberg said.

“Facts go further than feelings for many, so we use information in the play from historians and even non-biblical religious texts like the Quran.”

Mr. Goldberg said that while writing the show, he drew on some of his own experiences leading up to his conversion from Judaism to Christianity.

Although the debate between the two main characters takes place in the modern day, much of the play features biblical tales from ancient days depicting the birth, life and death of Jesus. Robbie Mills portrays Jesus and for him, it was fate.

Jesus (Robbie Mills) interacts with villagers in a scene from “Convinced.” The production continues through Sunday at Calvary Church in Dover.

“I had been trying to get my family to go to church all together for a while and the day we finally coordinated it, my church was actually closed so we decided to go to Calvary instead,” he said.

“And at the service they announced that there would be auditions for the Easter play. I’ve never acted before but for some reason I had the urge to audition, so I did.”

What Mr. Mills didn’t know is that auditions had been postponed from their original date of the week prior.

“It’s one of those coincidences that isn’t really a coincidence. I felt like God had a plan that day and He wanted me to audition and to become a part of the show,” he said.

Mr. Mills is acting beside nearly 70 other church members to bring Mr. Goldberg’s story to life.

The angel Gabriel is played by Jerry Winding.

“I’ve done about three-quarters of the shows here since 1994,” said Joe Shepard, portraying the role of Luke. “It’s something I really enjoy doing and I especially like seeing kids and new members get involved in the ministry in a fun way.”

Mr. Shepard also said “Convinced” is one of the best shows he’s been a part of.

“All of the shows here are always great, but the message in this one, the way it shows how believers should talk to skeptics, or other people who may be on the fence, it’s really valuable,” he said.

“We really love this community and putting on free shows like this year after year is our gift back to them,” said Mr. Goldberg. “We really hope that people come out because they are going to love this show.”

Mary (Kaitlyn Martinez) sings with villagers during a scene from “Convinced.” Admission to the weekend performances is free.

“Convinced” will take the stage at Calvary Church, 1141 East Lebanon Road, corner of Route 10 and South State Street in Dover today at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.

Doors open one hour before performances, but seats fill up quickly, so audience members are encouraged to arrive early for the best seats. Nursery available.

For more information, call 697-7776, or visit www.BeConvinced.org.

Ashton Brown is a freelance writer living in Dover.

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