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When local Brandon Farmer was approached to write an original Christmas play for his church, he wanted to create something that would show the realities of the season.
“Christmas at The Chesterfield Hotel,” which is to be performed at Galax Pentecostal Holiness Church on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., is not a typical church play, but it brings to light some messages from the Bible, said Farmer.
The play, set in the 1940s during World War II at a hotel in Virginia, shares the story of a hardened woman, Ms. Crisp, who has faced many misfortunes in life. She operates the hotel, which has filled to capacity on Christmas Eve during a snow storm.
Three strangers looking for a place to stay — a beggar, a bag lady and a wealthy man — lead the audience through the enlightening tale.
Characters share their stories of how they are facing times of need. Mrs. Smith, for example, fears that she will never see her husband again when he is unaccounted for during the war.
Hotel workers and strangers throughout the play demonstrate the fundamental elements of Christianity, “which is to treat people the way you want to be treated and give to people that don't have what they need,” said Farmer. “Many lose the Christmas spirt and dread the holidays. The things that people were facing in those days are still applicable to today.”
It reveals the battles and obstacles people face during the year and the holidays and how to deal with the problems successfully, he said. In the end, the play reveals what is most important about the holiday season.
With different stories heard in the play, “the message will be different for everybody. The gift of this play is that it gives something different to everyone.”
This is the second time the play has been in production. He originally wrote the play for Hillsville Pentecostal Holiness Church two years ago.
Deana Richardson, director of the Christmas play, said “the Lord laid it on my heart to take on this play because it is such a heartwarming story.” About 30 church members are participating in the production.
Farmer, who is a member at Galax Pentecostal Holiness, also wrote an Easter play, “We will Glorify,” for his church.
“People were so moved by that production, over 40 people were saved after the performance,” said Richardson.
“We would hope that everyone enjoys this play and can take away the message and apply it to Christmas,” she added. “There are so many similarities between now and the '40s, with the war going on and economic times and broken families. The show focuses on issues that are relevant to now.”
Farmer has performed in numerous plays, including with professional companies. Farmer, while at Galax High School in 2003, won a national award for his performance in a production.
Farmer received his undergraduate degrees in theater and psychology at Emory & Henry College and now attends Liberty University School of Law.
• For more information, call 236-6644 or 233-6727. Galax Pentecostal Holiness Church is on U.S. 58 east of Galax, across from the DMV office.