This "Woman of Destiny" by definition, activist, producer and playwright by design,
JAVON OPHELIA BUTER is a tireless advocate for those struggling to find their way to
God; in particular children and young people. Church Stars recently had the privilege of interviewing this special Woman of God.
CS: You’ve worked extensively serving in your community, former St. James Parish NAACP President, Director & Playwright of SeLah Productions. When did you know writing was your gift?
JB: I had a career in the political arena however, God had other plans. The revelation came when my church was in need of a playwright. I had no inkling that "the plan" was for me to minister and witness through writing, directing and producing plays. But as God would have it, that is my destiny and young people in particular are my passion.
CS: We love the name of your production company “SeLah”, how did it come about?
JB: God gave me SeLah , which basically means to pause and meditate, which is exactly what we hope our audiences will do...STOP and think about what they've experienced in the play, MEDITATE on it and how it applies to their lives and then act on it accordingly.
CS: Your production "If It Had Not Been For The Lord" The Sequel is showing July 8 in your hometown Baton Rouge. We know your audience is anxiously awaiting this play. Since it is a sequel, was it easier to write?
JB: My plays are usually written in 2 weeks. God gives me what to write and I followed His leading. So that and the fact that most of the actors are from the original cast made writing the sequel is easy.
CS: Without giving away too much, can you give us a brief synopsis of the play?
JB: The storyline is a continuation of the original show. Restoration is the defining line in the Sequel. It expresses that we can get off of the path in life and God can restore our lives back to it's original state. Pastor Mark Reed is planning his wife, Sandy's Birthday Bash. Sandy's anger grows in this show and she exhibits behavior unlike a First Lady. Lawrence, Pastor Reed's brother, visits with his son, Jared, from California, on a father-son trip. As the Production continues, the family faces many trials with lies, deceit, and betrayal. Forgiveness sets in and the family learns that Restoration can be received in the worst situations.
CS: What was the first table read like for the cast?
JB: It was Great. Most of them worked with me on the original play, so they were fairly comfortable with each other and the script.
CS: The Christian Arts is ministry and most of the time what we present ministers to us first. How has the play ministered to the cast?
JB: The cast has definitely been ministered to. What is so prophetic about this play is God handpicks the actors Himself through the casting calls. After they've accepted the role and read the play they either start crying, or some say "Oh my
God this is my life". I've even experienced actors after several rehearsals start having things happen to them that are in the play. God gives me the plays in visions, and in my obediences to what He wants to say, my work is very prophetic. I've also noticed that what God has given me to write is either a conviction or a preparation for the cast members who have a personal connection with the play. Seeing lives changed is a beautiful thing to watch as a director.
CS: For someone who hasn't see the first play, will the sequel be hard to follow?
JB: Actually, if someone hasn't not see the first play "If It Had Not Been For The Lord", they would get a full understanding of the sequel. In the beginning of the play there is a monologue that catches the audiences up on what has gone on in the previous play. Even if they miss the beginning, it is a very round written sequel that reiterates a lot of the messages from the first play.
CS: What inspires you, is there any special "thing" you do prior to or upon completion of writing a play?
JB: Prayer first and foremost. The Lord shows me what to write and secondly, I'm inspired just anticipating who will be touched by the message. I am a "destiny pusher" and love inspiring others to find their purpose/destiny and live in it.
CS: What is the day after a big production like for Javon Ophelia-Butler?
JB: I sleep until I can't sleep anymore
CS: If you could describe in one word your journey in the Christian Arts, what would that word be?
CS:. What is next for Javon Ophelia Butler and SeLah Productions?
JB: In October 2018, I will introduce a new production and I am currently working w/ Women in Film and Television comprised of all women directors I'm working on my first feature film to be completed in 2019 - 2020.
As the director and playwright of SeLah Productions, Inc., (SPI), JaVon, along with her cast, has been blessed to grace audiences throughout Louisiana with hit gospel stage plays,
“Lord, If I Can Help Somebody…& ” If It Had Not Been for the Lord... & The SEQUEL. JaVon’s desire is to write “life- changing” productions that will minister spiritually and help people apply what they see to their daily lives. If you live in Baton Rouge and the surround areas of Louisiana, get your ticket today!
MANSHIP THEATRE | "IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR THE LORD" THE SEQUEL