Depicting real-life issues on the stage while spreading a message of faith comes easy to Donna Crockett.
In fact, the Los Angeles-based playwright has made of career of producing faith-based works to help believers and nonbelievers alike realize that they can are not the only ones dealing with the daily challenges of life and victory lies in the power of God.
“My plays are based on real life topics. I try to bring the subject around as much as possible so that people can see themselves and relate to it,” explained Crockett. “If there’s a solution, I write about it. But everything doesn’t end with a big yellow ribbon around it. So sometimes you say, ‘Why did that happen that way?’ But everything doesn’t end beautifully, so I just tell the story the way that it really is.”
But, since Crockett has a strong relationship with Christ, biblical themes are often interspersed in her writings and she firmly proclaims, “I love faith-based productions. No matter what I do, I put God first. I feel like I was born in the church because I’ve been in it for so long.”
The importance of faith is highlighted in Crockett’s latest play, “I’m Still Yo’ Mama,” which tells the story of a vibrant woman afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease late in life. The show traces the character’s childhood, marriage, motherhood and old age. Crockett’s intent, with this subject, is to reveal the effects of the incurable sickness on the person and their loved ones.
“The play is based on my mother’s life,” said Crockett, who also stars in the production. “I start the story when she was 2-years-old and take you from there on a journey of her ups-and-downs, and trial and tribulations that she went through being one of the first African Americans to enter a segregated school in her Louisiana hometown and raising her children.
“It ends as she is stricken with Alzheimer’s and she sees how families can treat Alzheimer’s victims. My goal is to bring dignity and class to victims of Alzheimer’s. It’s a roller coaster ride, bit I think that people will enjoy it,” said Crockett, who has added Tameka Bob and Terrill Paul to the production.
“All By Myself” is another “real life issues” play that Crockett wrote and produced. The storyline concerns a woman mourning the death of her husband who discovers he led a double life when his son knocks on her door.
“She goes through a lot of things and it’s done all by herself. She’s kind of afraid to live alone. She has a daughter, but she didn’t want to be by herself,” said Crockett.
Later this year, Crockett plans to stage, “Pop Wut You Got,” which looks at the resistance of a conservative female minister when her nephew tries to introduce dancing into the worship service. The play features an intergenerational cast of 25 and underscores timely issues like child suicide and bullying.
Although Crockett loves what she does, she admits her busy schedule can become overwhelming at times. When those moments occur, she falls back on her relationship with Christ.
“Sometimes I have to praise my way through things, like Paul and Silas in prison in Acts 16. When the praises went up, they were freed,” she said. “So, when I feel like I’m bound, I always break into a praise and things always work out.”
“I’m Still Yo Mama” just ended a run in North Hollywood. The next shows will be on Saturday, July 14, at 12 p.m. (lunch included) and 7 p.m., at New Hope Baptist Church, 5200 Central Ave., in Los Angeles. The ticket donation is $20 and available eventbrite.com or by calling (805) 204-7244.