On October 21, Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas hosted the stage play, Faces in the Mirror. The play starred Dallas native and inspirational songbird, Angela Blair and actor Miguel Nunez, Jr. of Life and Juwanna Mann.
Faces in the Mirror, written by Barbara Hudson, is about one woman’s journey through various stages of her life as a Christian. The play opens with main character looking at herself in the mirror and realizing the flaws of her life. As she stares at herself in the mirror she begins to battle confusion with her sexuality, the loneliness and isolation from her family and the men she dated even the feelings of abandonment from God. The character struggles with her current scene identity and who she wants to be in Christ during this four act play. The audience felt the character’s anger, frustration, confusion and desperation to live the life she knew she should live as a Christian. A life that left her battered, abused, mistreated and near death.
When I arrived into the sanctuary of Friendship-West, I noticed a very simple stage set up. There was a vanity and a chair with a white backdrop that represented a wall. There were no additional props for scenes with phones calls or even other people outside of Nunez’s character, the Angel of Mercy and Satan, who the character often battled. As I watched the play, I quickly became confused because it seemed that the character’s emotions were all over the place. She went from one extreme to the next. From lust to fear, happiness and praise to hate and frustration, the character’s rapidly changing emotions seemed as if the character was battling a mental affliction more than going through spiritual warfare. But to point, it is a realization because as a Christian, battling the world can make you feel like you have a mental affliction. Your heart longs to please and to be pleasing to the Lord but you are used to living a certain way or in a certain lifestyle. And what makes you look like you are crazy is actually you going through spiritual warfare. Your natural is fighting your spiritual or vice versa.
I was very excited about Miguel Nunez being in the play and expected him to have a bigger role but he came out in Act Three and seemed to only have about 6-10 lines. Though he delivered them with comical grace I wanted to see more of him. He was in and out of the scene and generated a few moments of laugher from the highly emotional dialogue being delivered by the main character. I enjoyed his brief moments on stage but was left wondering why no other men were depicted in the play outside of Satan, who was one of the two dancers (the Angel of Mercy was the other).
The dance scenes were beautifully performed but I felt as if the play was a dance performance with a monologue versus a play with dance scenes. The camera crew focused more, at times, on the dance performances than they did the actors on the stage. You lost the intensity of the delivery because of the camera angel and the performance. These dance performances were to represent the spiritual battle the character was having regarding her decisions and thoughts. But again, the character’s delivery of her feelings and thoughts were lost once the dancers came on stage.
The highlight of the play was the performance by Angela Blair. She was the older, wiser and more spiritually developed character and she delivered. She spoke on overcoming the struggles of walking in faith. Though her delivery seemed as if she was shouting to the audience, her performance was a delight. You felt Blair was delivering an actual testimony and not just recalling lines from a play. She showed emotion and passion that while being a Christian is challenging it is the best journey she could have taken. She also delivered a powerful and anointed version of the gospel sound, For Every Mountain. The audience went into a spiritual praise that I have never seen before at a play. Angela’s delivery of the song really made the play understandable. The words – For every mountain, for every blessing, for this I give you praise. For waking me up this morning, for starting me on my way – helped me to understand how and why Faces in the Mirror was written and produced with minimal characters and props.
Hudson wanted the audience to see the struggle, to feel the pain, to witness the toils that this one woman experienced trying to find her place in comfort of God and to trust Him above all things. I understood the message that Hudson was delivering to the audience. This was a personal journey, her journey of how she felt and what she experienced during her lifetime as she struggled and forced her way onward to follow and trust Christ.
Though I was confused at times watching this woman toggle from one extreme to the other but I understood her journey. I know that we as Christians fight a spiritual warfare every day of our lives. But we have to keep pressing forward. Keep believing that all of our Faces in the Mirror are still loved by God.