LIHUE — Sophia Ross, who taught her children about the Civil War, is struck by the similarities of then, and now, in America.
“Our country is really in the same political climate. We are so deeply divided, just as they were,” she said. “But both sides have beautiful stories and sometimes, people only hear one side of the story.”
The country managed to come back together after the Civil War, and healing took place, Ross said.
It can happen again.
It is, in part, what motivated her to write “Christmas In Rockville” that opens tonight at Calvary Chapel Lihue.
Ross plays a widow whose only son died in the Civil War, and she deals with the pain through a cynical heart and drinking.
But there is, she says, a better way. And that is a message of the play.
“We believe we can find hope and peace through God and he is willing to give us that no matter where we are in life, no matter how far we’ve gone,” Ross said. “We can always have that new beginning and we can be unified again and we don’t have to be divided.”
After four years of successful runs of “Candle in the Window” and “Hope Station,” Calvary Chapel Lihue Theater presents the debut run of another original play.
“For me, it’s so exciting to watch the gospel being presented in a very meaningful land creative way,” said Pastor Bruce Baumgartner.
It’s the first Christmas after the Civil War. It is described as a dramatic tale of family, loss, community, love and forgiveness as the country is in a time of great division, racial tension, and family upheaval.
It includes Civil War-era costuming, live music by the Welch family, full stage and set design, concessions, and more in an intimate setting.
“Christmas is the season where we are supposed to unite and have joy,” said Lance Kerwin, director and a professional actor who plays a soldier in the play. “We came out of the Civil War stronger as a nation. As we watch this play about a family during that era going through Christmas with so many of the same struggles, I’m sure this will cause us to take a good look at where we are at and be encouraged that Christmas is a perfect time for a new beginning.”
Baumgartner, who plays the Rev. Graham, said more people from other churches, and people who don’t attend church, are part of what he called a top-quality production with a positive message.
“So that’s awesome,” he said.
Christmas In Rockville will lift spirits, Baumgartner said, but also “actually reaches into their heart and their soul a little bit more to say, ‘Hey, do I really understand the real meaning of Christmas? Who Jesus is, and what is it he means to me?”
Last year’s shows all sold out and an extra one was added. Cast and crew are hoping Christmas in Rockville proves to be just as popular.
God has a life-changing message, Baumgartner said, and brings hope out of disaster.
“Our island needs that right now,” he said. “We have racial problems, we have civic problems, dysfunctional families, and this really addresses all those things and it shows God has an answer for all those things — not just a short-term answer. It’s a life-changing answer.”
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and shows are at 7. Performances are tonight, Saturday and Sunday, then Dec 8 and Dec. 9. The play takes a break on Dec. 7 for the Lights on Rice parade.
Tickets are $10, and are limited to 150 per night. Proceeds go to Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief, Camp Agape Kauai, U-Turn for Christ Kauai, William Graham’s Kauai Celebration, Gideon’s International, and Operation Christmas Child.
Tickets can be purchased at: Scotty’s Music, Word4Word Bookstore, Kauai Music &Sound, Calvary Chapel Lihue, and at: cclihue.com/tickets.