Writing on the Wall: How many plays have you been apart of before Love Wins?
Danielle Reed: I have been in plays since I was in high school, mostly church and school productions. I’ve always played supporting roles in these plays. I was Mary in A Portrait of Christ, and my favorite role, Mary Annette and Dusty in Cowboy Bob’s Wrangling Rodeo Hour.
WOTW: Who do you play?
DR: I play Jennifer Bankston, wife of Mitchell and mother to Esther.
WOTW: How would you describe Jennifer?
DR: Jennifer is a complex character who goes through a range of emotion, but I think when it comes right down to it, she’s just searching. Searching for something to make her complete. She has this tremendous love and devotion for her daughter, but at the same time I think she knows there is something missing. I think the same is true for the way she feels about Mitch. I have no doubt she loves him, but part of the reason she runs to Harrison is that she feels something about their relationship isn’t what it should be. Something is missing.
WOTW: Were there any hurdles in playing her?
DR: This was by far the hardest role I have ever played. I think what made it so hard was the range of emotion Jennifer goes through. At the beginning, we see this fun-loving kind of personality, but then as events unfold, she acts betrayed then guilty then empty. It was very difficult to change emotions so quickly and portray those emotions in a believable way.
WOTW: What makes Jennifer tick? What do you think she wants out of life?
DR: As I said before I think she’s searching for that one thing that will make her complete, but she doesn’t know exactly what it is. She wants people to believe she has it all together. I think that’s what motivates her to do what she does. She is involved in all kind of organizations, goes to Esther’s PTA meetings, and fabricates the story about Mitch and Audrey; all so that others believe she has it all together. I believe what she truly wants out of life is to find that key to true joy, and I believe she finds that through accepting Jesus as her Savior. The evidence of that is in the way she responds to everything that happens after that moment in the play. She takes full responsibility for the pain she has caused, but even through her pain she still has this peace that we don’t see earlier on.
WOTW: Did you learn anything from Jennifer?
DR: I have renewed appreciation and love for my husband. After seeing the hurt her choices caused her family, it makes me realize how precious my husband is and how important it is to be honest and open with him. I do not want to find myself in a situation where I am the cause of hurt like that. I also believe her story is one more example of God’s amazing grace, and it was awesome to be reminded of that through Jennifer’s story.
WOTW: How did you get along with the rest of the cast?
DR: This cast was amazing! The talent of the actors and actresses in this play just blew me away. I loved every minute of working with them. We laughed together (even at times when we shouldn’t have), we felt frustration together, and we felt successes together. Even when I was tired after working all day, I always looked forward to going to play practice because I knew I would get to be with my friends.
WOTW: What’s it like working in an ensemble?
DR: Honestly, at first I thought this was going to be the most complicated thing to rehearse because there were so many people, but now I wouldn’t change my experience with these people at all. Being in an ensemble, we all worked together as a team. What helped was us all having the same focus and vision. From the beginning, we all knew God was going to do something amazing with this play and we could all sense that. From there it was just a matter of getting all the kinks worked out. And we did. Being in an ensemble to me just meant I had that many more people supporting me as I struggled through a difficult scene or finally got the right emotion for the moment. And it was great being that support for others, too. It was a really awesome thing to hear us all cheer for someone when they nailed a scene or see us all struggle as one of the cast members worked through a difficult scene. And, we are all better actors and better friends because of it!
WOTW: Do you have a favorite scene?
DR: As hard as it was for me to act in, I love the last scene. Seeing the change God can do in two people is just amazing! And the girl in me loves that the story has a hint of a happy ending. I also thought Esther’s song was so beautiful. Hannah did an amazing job of capturing Esther’s heart. It brought me to tears every night we performed.
WOTW: What do you hope Love Wins will accomplish?
DR: My hope is that Love Wins will reach the hearts of those who truly need to hear its message. Love Wins sends a powerful message about the reality of divorce and the lives that are affected by it. I truly hope we can share this play with people, not just at Meadowview, but across our area and beyond that need to hear how God can change the outcome through His Love. Even if we never perform it again, my prayer is that one life will change as a result of seeing God’s amazing love.
Thanks so much Danielle!!