Joliet writer/director brings story of faith, comedy to Bicentennial Park Theatre stage
Joliet resident Kimberly Garrett is a big advocate for the “smart laugh.” So, when an opportunity arose after her contract with Second City ended allowing her not only to write, but also direct her first full play, she said everything fell into place.
“As my faith grew, I felt no desire to say the types of things and make the kinds of jokes that they wanted to me to say and make,” she said. “So, I did not renew my contract and I left the theater. I was a little bit nervous about that because this is what I do, I perform. Now I’m stepping away, but taking that step on faith—calls started coming in asking me to perform stand up.”
Garrett has performed in a number of shows and movies around the world since that time.
On Jan. 21, Bicentennial Park Theatre showcased Garrett’s “Locked In,” a comedy with music about five fictional characters who find themselves locked inside a church revealing shameful secrets, past hurts, quirky personalities and pet peeves.
The idea behind the production came to her one day after church last year, Garrett said.
Garrett, noting that she’s always been a “big fan” of the behind the scenes experience, said she found something fascinating in the way people may meet and greet before church.
Garrett is a Christian comedian who belongs to True Deliverance Apostolic Ministries in Plainfield. She said her own personal experience with faith plays a crucial part in her work.
Garrett said her father who was diagnosed with stage-four cancer fell ill and faced an emergency type situation in which doctors felt he wouldn’t make it.
But that wasn’t God’s plan, Garrett said.
“He didn’t know why we were in the hospital,” she said. “He didn’t know who was sick. He wanted to know if this was a joke. Why is he wearing this robe?”
When Garrett learned that her father had been suddenly healed, she said she found refuge in following her faith.
Finding the right cast
“It was crucial to select the right cast,” Garrett said. “At one point, each one of us will step out of our character to talk about something really true to us. Each one of us tells a story that’s different from the next. I have one woman whose escaped an abusive relationship and she over came it. I have a woman who had gone to church and been hurt. I don’t want people to think nothing bad will happen if you go to church.”
Garrett added that despite common misconceptions people may hold, everyone’s spiritual journey is different and will stretch an individual for the better.
“Locked In” returns for another production run at 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at Bicentennial Park Theatre.
Garrett said though spectators can expect to see much of the same cast when the production returns to Joliet, she wrote the play in a way that allows for some flexibility.
“I specifically wrote the play so if a cast member has to leave when someone steps in, they bring their own story to the play, which has the potential to touch the lives of others,” she said.
Garrett said the play is hoped to please.
“It is my heart’s great desire to touch the ears and tickle the funny bones of good people and that’s basically everyone,” she said.