By Melanie Patterson
The North Jefferson News
Kenny Blade’s goal this Christmas is to make people think.
His central question is, “What does it really mean to be friends forever?”
Blade’s mouthpiece is the stage. For 20 years, the playwright has written skits and plays that have mostly been performed where he attends church.
For the past several years, Blade has called Beechwood Baptist Church in Mt. Olive his home.
His Christmas play this year, “The Promise,” is about two friends and how they affect each other throughout their lives.
Blade describes “The Promise” as a play that “leaves you with a question to think about.”
Blade said he has three goals.
First, he wants to give people “something nobody else can give them.”
He also wants to move people away from where they are, even if it is for a short time.
Third, “I respect the audience enough to let them answer their own questions,” he said.
Blade has no formal training as a playwright, but that hasn’t stopped him from writing at least 10 full-length plays and many of what he calls “sitcomish” plays that are about 30 minutes long.
It also hasn’t stopped him from selling two versions of a play to Eldridge Publishing.
The original play that he sold is called “Bucky Breckenheimer’s Christmas Miracle.”
However, Eldridge told him that it can’t sell the “religious” play to schools. So Blade wrote a second version called “Bucky Breckenheimer Saves Christmas” for mainstream audiences.
However, Blade is famous locally for his Christmas plays.
Sometimes his plays are comedies. Sometimes they feature adults, at other times children are the stars.
“I try to write something original for them every year,” said Blade. “We see this as a gift to the church and to the community.”
There’s not really a drama team at Beechwood. Rather, Blade says, “The whole church is kind of the drama department. As a church, they support us.”
Asked why he has continued writing and producing plays, mostly for free, for the past 20 years, Blade said it is the process that he likes.
“I love the fact that something can go from my mind to the stage,” he said.
Blade said that producing and directing the plays is far from his favorite part. His passion is in the writing.
He writes most of his plays in a month or less.
“When it gets started, it just won’t stop,” he said. “They’re not that difficult to write. The problem is stopping to do it.”
“The Promise” is a two-man play, with Eric Hunter as the lead actor and Mark Muncher as an actor.
The play will be performed at Beechwood Baptist Church on Dec. 7-8 at 7 p.m. There is no charge for admission.
By Melanie Patterson