The Old Testament book of Esther is about a woman who must decide whether to go see the king without being summoned, an offense punishable by death, or stay silent while a genocidal plot threatens her life and the lives of other Persian Jews.
Sound familiar? Sherri Brown-Webster thought so. Not necessarily because genocide or something just as serious is imminent in America, but because it took a courageous woman risking her life to do what was right.
Brown-Webster is writer and director of “Queen Esther: A Fearless Sheroe.” The play opens at 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at Marian University Theatre, 3200 Cold Spring Road. There’s another showing at 7 p.m. the same day and again at 4 p.m. Aug. 11. The production is being put on by Genesis Theatre Company, where Brown-Webster is the executive director.
Genesis Theatre Company does mostly biblical stories, but it wasn’t a given that Esther would get the spotlight. Instead, Brown-Webster said the world gave her the inspiration and let her know this was a story people need to see.
“There’s so much going on in the world today, and I’m not just speaking political,” she said. “… People are living longer and stronger, but at the same time the forces of evil are growing stronger around us.”
Brown-Webster referenced war and the “rumors of war” (like what Americans have been seeing with Iran), as well as increasing natural disasters (more deadly wildfires and flooding) and domestic terrorism (at least 31 people were killed recently in two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio). Another telltale sign that these are dangerous times, she said: People are becoming more self-centered, which the books of Romans and James say is a sin.
The book of Esther tells the story of Esther, who the Persian king chooses as his queen. Esther is a Jew, but she doesn’t tell the king, whose official tries to get revenge on Esther’s uncle by ordering the killing of every Jew in Persia. Esther’s uncle urges her to go the king without being summoned, something she could be killed for, to convince him to stop the order. She eventually does, and the king (not able to undo a royal decree) allows Jews to defend themselves against those trying to kill them. The book says the Jews went on to kill more than 75,000 people.
The book doesn’t mention God, but the play will mention “Jehovah” a few times. Brown-Webster said it was “just hard for me not to say it” as a Christian.
For those who go to the two-hour play, Brown-Webster said she hopes they’re able to walk away feeling empowered to stand up for what’s right, just as Esther did.
“We’re all ‘sheroes’ and heroes,” she said. “We must continue to stand firm in the face of evil and confront evil every day with the faith and power in us to do it.”
Tickets for the play are $20 and can be purchased at the box office, online at genesistheatrecompany.com or by calling 317-778-6707.
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.
Genesis Theatre Company will present a play about Esther, who must be brave in the face of danger. There will be three showings of the two-hour play.
When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 10, 4 p.m. Aug. 11
Where: Marian University Theatre, 3200 Cold Spring Road
Tickets: $20 general admission. Purchase at the box office, online at genesistheatrecompany.com or by calling 317-778-6707