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'Blessed Assurance' opening Friday at Averitt Center

    The Averitt Center for the Arts, in conjunction with the Statesboro Herald, is sponsoring an essay contest on the upcoming play "Blessed Assurance." High school students or college students up to 21 years of age are invited to come and watch the play, then submit a reaction paper to the Averitt Center by November 1st. The winner of the essay contest will receive $75 and have their essay published in the Statesboro Herald.

   "Blessed Assurance," written by Laddy Sartin, is set in the turbulent Freedom Summer of 1964,  a time of the civil rights movement and racial unrest. In the play, the main character, Olivia, is a waitress for the Whitehouse Café, located in fictional Sunflower County of rural Mississippi. She shocks her small town by marching up the courthouse steps and demanding that she be allowed to register to vote. The play then follows the reactions of the community, how the people close to Olivia are affected and how her choice to stand up for her right s forces them all to confront the blind hatred and injustice in their town.
    Mical Whitaker is the director of the play. He said the play deals with some of the unpleasant, but important times in the history of this country.
    "The play is about people coming of age as the nation was coming of age," said Whitaker.
    He cautioned that the subject matter was sensitive and cautioned against bringing children under 13 to the performances.
    "This is a theater piece for adults. The language is rather harsh and some of the situations are harsh," said Whitaker. "It's nothing you'd see on late night television, but the play certainly deals with some of the most striking elements of what it means to be an American."
    Whitaker was asked what one thing audience can expect to take away from the play.
    "When you listen to the song 'Blessed Assurance,' it's a song which deals with that part of the human spirit which believes, that is so trusting of some higher power," said Whitaker. "This play is about what it means to have an assurance of your spirit - that something is bigger than all this."
     The play is the first performance of the season to be sponsored by the Averitt Center Stars, which supports local community theater.
    "It's an excellent cast. We've become quite a family."
    Though the Averitt Center usually encourages people of all ages come to see their shows, the director has asked that children, younger than teenagers, should not come to see the play due to its sensitive nature and rather severe language.
    "Blessed Assurance" opens on Friday night, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. There are also performances on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for youth and students.  For groups of 12 people or more, tickets can be purchased for $5. 

    Details of the essay contest can be obtained by downloading the contest rules and entry form from the link above. 

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