One of the patterns that define the momentous event of Easter is that of redemption and renewal. Closely tied to this is the concept of second-chances. This was the theme of the recent Easter production by the church of Charis Christian Center (CCC).
Titled Emmy, the production was an original composition, written and produced by CCC, based on the true story of the actual Emmy. More than 2000 people in total attended the event that was held at the Dewan Wawasan, Menara PGRM, on 16th April, Easter Sunday 2017.
Emmy was an unwanted child. Her biological parents earnestly sought to give her away but nobody wanted to take Emmy in. Eventually she was given to an Indian lady who had earnestly yearned for a child. Though poor, the Indian lady loved Emmy as her own child, and though she had nothing but coffee grains, the short time she spent with the lady was one of her fondest memories. Unfortunately this was to be short-lived for the Indian lady was too poor to take care of Emmy for long.
A relative of the family who owned a gambling house took her in, and while the uncle genuinely loved her as family and took good care of her, his wife considered her a burden. When her uncle eventually passed away, Emmy’s life started to resemble that of Cinderella. She was no longer treated as an adopted daughter but as a maid. Forced to do every chore, and bullied by her adopted mother and adopted sisters, viewed as a bad luck by her adopted mother whenever she lost at the mah-jong table, it was a time of real loneliness for her.
Eventually Emmy ran away and found herself in the city. She earned her way into college and eventually a job at the sales department of a company. Working hard, she climbed the corporate ladder until she was promoted to become the manager of the department, with a high-paying salary. But though she seemed to have finally made it in life, being able to afford anything she wanted now, the high demands of her job soon took a toll on her and her relationships suffered. Eventually her boyfriend decided to break off his relationship with her, saying “We’re almost living separate lives – like strangers. I don’t want to be in this situation anymore.”
The production ended with Emmy standing on a rooftop, thinking about all that she achieved and yet she felt so empty on the inside. She was on the brink of suicide as memories of her past were brought back to mind. Since young, until that day on the rooftop, Emmy saw herself as someone not worth being loved – as someone so unwanted by the world.
It was at this moment that God spoke. The lights went out and the real Emmy Ch’ng came out on stage to share her testimony. She told of how God had brought her a second chance in life with Him. The voice of God came as a gentle whisper, a voice so comforting that it stilled her troubled heart. All her life, Emmy had only knew loneliness and about being always alone, but now she finally knew that there was someone from up in Heaven, and yet who was close beside her, that loved her with the deepest of love and who is able to bring her through the ups and downs in life.
Since then, though there were sometimes still challenges in her life, she had peace in her heart, knowing that God is always there beside her, watching over her. For someone who had only known transient loving relationships from the world, this was a life-changing moment for her and it shaped her and gave her a purpose and a future. One verse has always resounded in her life since:
John 16:33 “Jesus said, ‘I have you told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Both the English and Cantonese production were well-composed with good soulful acting, songs and dance numbers, using authentic props such as life-sized gambling cards and soy-sauce bottles to bring the era of the settings to evocative life. But it was the self-made props that wowed the crowd, most notably a large painted plank that allowed the stage crew to rotate it and ensure a smooth scene transition from one setting to another. One such example was the transition from the factory where Emmy worked, to the college where she studied. This had ensured a smooth flow in the songs and dances for the respective scenes.
Another thing that stood out was the impeccable timing of the sound effects by the audio-visual crew. The opening and closing of door almost felt real, as if the sound were coming from the door itself. According to the director, the sound effect for the door was what made everybody very anxious as they knew timing was everything and that if the synching was not done flawlessly it could spoil the atmosphere of the production.
Ultimately, however, the production derived its greatest strengths through the intimate personal life story of the protagonist, bringing poignancy and touching the heart with sympathy, understanding, and compassion, but also rejoicing with her during the breakthrough moments of her life.
NOTE: All photos were kindly provided by the church of Charis Christian Center.
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