As the stage lights dim after a heartwarming performance between Young Abigail (Alyssa Huang) and her father (Scott Priest), our attention immediately draws towards the projection screen above showing a frightened and haggard Abigail (Claudia Arief).
The thrilling cinematic video plays out a chase between Abigail and her abusive boyfriend (Samuel Windura) that suddenly breaks out in the theater aisles. As the doors of the train close, so starts her journey home. IFGF held the opening night of their annual Easter Musical, “Coming Home” on Friday, April 11, at the newly remodeled IFGF Church in Monrovia to tell a story about a wayward daughter “returning into a father’s embrace.”
The story revolves around Abigail, a young girl that ran away with her boyfriend to pursue a blissful life, only to find drugs, abuse, and heartbreak. Desperate, she finds herself on a train towards home, questioning if she should stay or get off at the next stop in fear of her family’s rejection.
The mix of cinematic video and live theatre action brought the intimate nature of the theater to a new level as actors stood within a foot of where I sat. Gritty realism of the drug and abuse were effectively showcased in a way it couldn’t have on stage.
Harris Gozali’s direction with the play paid off exceptionally well; I could feel the rage and violence of Abigail’s ex- boyfriend as Samuel Windura crept near my seat brandishing crazed eyes at Abigail. These moments when video and acting on stage and in the aisles give “Coming Home” a unique twist that allows the audience to feel as if they too are on the train with Abigail.
As always, the IFGF Musical is a showcase of some of the best local talent in acting, singing, and dancing. From the electrifying dance in the clubs to the emotional rendition of “Bring Her Home,” it’s evident that not only are the performers talented but hardworking.
Senior Pastor Daniel Hanafi took to the stage at the end of the play and teaches us how “Coming Home” parallels the Parable of the Prodigal Son, how a father’s love is forever. You can come for the amazing talent, the high-tech visuals and sounds, but when Abigail’s train comes to a stop remember that love is waiting for her.