Karlton Clay, CEO & Founder, Victory Productions
The stage play Surrender is the latest production from Augusta playwright Karlton Clay. The play has been on tour since September 2009 and this weekend he is staging a concert for the play’s soundtrack, featuring various gospel artists from the Augusta area. This week we interviewed Karlton, or KC as he is known by his friends.
Q: Your latest play Surrender has been playing in various cities throughout the region and seems to be getting popular. Where did the idea for this one come from?
All of my plays and scripts are Holy Ghost inspired. I pray and ask God what is next, and I try to keep my ears open to what He wants me to write. The play Surrender came after the abrupt end of the tour for my last production, The Lord's Prayer. I was thinking that I haven’t done a salvation play in a while, and I heard the Holy Spirit say, “That’s what's next.” So I began writing this play and wanted to limit it to six characters. After three and a half weeks, Surrender was born.
Surrender cast, courtesy Victory Productions
Q: What is the play's message to the audience?
The message is all about surrendering everything in your life to Jesus Christ. That goes from salvation to just submitting your will and desires to Him. It’s also about being careful what and who you surrendering yourself to. We as humans sometimes get ourselves involved in situations that we have no business getting involved with. Sometimes those situations alter the rest of our lives.
Q: Are there plans to take this production outside of Georgia?
On February 6th, we will be at Victory Temple AOH Church of God in Burnettown, SC. There is a possibility that we will do a show in Columbia, SC, Daytona Beach, FL, and Los Angeles, CA in the spring of 2010, but those aren't definite as of yet. We are working to get the finances for FL and CA.
Q: How long have you been writing and producing?
I have been writing ever since I was like six years old. I wrote my first short play when I was 12, but it didn't get produced. The first play that I wrote, directed and produced was Leukemia & Me in March 2004. I was 18 at the time. I am a leukemia survivor and I wanted to give people an inside look of what I went through when I received the diagnosis, the experience with chemotherapy, and how it affected my family and friends.
College Daze cast, courtesy Victory Productions
Q: You also created a monthly Internet drama called College Daze, which addresses young adults and often touchy subjects such as drugs, alcohol and rape. Why do you take on these subjects?
I believe that the reason why the Christian community and the church is hurting so much is because we refuse to talk and discuss the issues that are affecting us and our world. We want to cover our eyes and act like it's not happening. Premarital sex is happening IN THE CHURCH! Adultery is happening IN THE CHURCH! Drug abuse and spousal abuse is happening IN THE CHURCH! I believe that we are not doing our job as mature believers if we don't talk about the issues that are affecting the church body. Everyone is not going to be receptive to the preacher yelling and screaming at them in the pulpit. So I believe that the arts are another avenue to minister the Word and also allow the plays to be a mirror so that you say hey, I'm dealing with that; so let me see what to do or what not to do.
Q: Many writers have aspirations of working with a major company, but you decided to create you own company. Why is that?
When I was younger I decided I wanted to be a writer and always thought I would be submitting my writings and be hired to write for shows, etc. When I finished writing my first play Leukemia & Me, I was submitting it for churches to produce it but was getting the run-around or no response. So my aunt Carlyn told me that I might have to do it on my own. I didn't realize at the time that God was speaking through my aunt until a few weeks later. He gave me the vision to actually begin Victory Productions. He began birthing it inside of me while I was battling leukemia in March of 2002, but it wasn't until I started producing Leukemia & Me that I started walking it out. God showed me that I don't have to depend on anyone to give me my ‘big break.’ He said that He is going to open those doors that no man can close.
Q: What is the future for you as a playwright?
We're going to finish up Surrender strong, and see what God has in store for us next. I'm possibly working on a new play, but I'm not quite sure about all the details or when I'm going to produce it. For my next play, I would love to do it either at the Imperial Theatre or the Bell Auditorium. And I want to tour around the United States.