Life Change Productions to perform in Luverne

Published 1:44 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016

The everyday stresses and challenges of this world tend to get us down; that’s just a fact. But what many of us tend to forget is that we are too blessed to be stressed about what happens to us in this world.

With this thought in mind, Callie Willis decided to forge a path into the world of theater and performance by creating the performance company Life Change Productions.

“Life Change Production is a community based theater where we take people here from the community who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to be on stage, and give them the opportunity to showcase their talent,” said Life Change Productions director Takecia Barlow.

“Those that may not feel that they have talent are given the opportunity to train and get the motivation to see they can do it.”

Willis, a 1992 graduate of Highland Home School, attended the LBW Community College Macarthur Campus in Opp for cosmetology and barbering. After college, she served as a deputy in Crenshaw County but broke her leg at the police academy. It then took her one year to learn to walk again; that is when she began to write.

“It took me a year to learn how to walk, and I just started writing these productions. It was just God talent,” Willis said.

“I just started putting it together. I found one actor, then I found another and before you knew it I had a whole production company. When people would see my people on stage, they would think they were from Atlanta or New York. There’s so much talent there.”

Last year, Life Change Productions had the opportunity to close out the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma. Willis said performing at this event was not only an honor, but it also gave her company the chance to show their talent to a wide variety of people.

“When people saw it from California and New York, they didn’t even think that kind of talent was here in Montgomery,” she said.

“Once you see it, people are shocked that people from a small town could put that together, but I never was the type of person who thought inside the box. It was the vision God gave me.”

It is Willis’ hope that by bringing this production back to her home county, she will be able to inspire others in the area that may also want to chase the dream of performing. Willis noted that so much emphasis is placed on children being involved in sports throughout their school days, but rarely are the arts nurtured and supported. She hopes to change that by showing locals what can happen when you are unafraid to chase your dreams.

The play being presented is entitled “2 Blessed 2 Be Stressed” and focusses on a young woman diagnosed with lupus who is also struggling spiritually and emotionally. Barlow says that the character begins to accept anything that comes her way in life, negative and positive, because of her low self-esteem and sickness. As it always does, these things in life begin to weigh her down.

“The play deals with laughter, tears, joy and every walk of life. It’s not just from the single woman perspective who has an illness, but it also deals with bringing families back together,” Barlow said.

“It also deals with men who desire a good woman but really don’t know where to look. Those are some of the issues we deal with in the play, and as we deal with those issues, we take our audience on an emotional journey that makes them have every emotion that you could think about.”

Willis and Life Change Productions will present the hit gospel play on Saturday, July 9 at 7 p.m. in the Luverne High School auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. Advanced tickets can be purchased for $15 by contacting Barlow at (251) 648-3583 or can be purchased at the door for $20.