by Cesca Janece Waterfield
Kyia Hobson, a 15 year old sophomore at Godwin High School, is directing her second play, “Wages of Sin,” premiering May 29, 7pm at Henrico Theatre, 305 E. Nine Mile Rd., Highland Springs. She lives in Henrico with her mother and stepfather, LaVonda and Eric Branch. She says her family, including father Carl Hobson, raised her to focus on her goals and to make wise decisions. Kyia’s theatre productions are a family affair, and Kyia’s grandmother Shirley Hawkins and mother LaVonda Branch are actively involved in Kyia’s developing talent. Kyia and her family attend Mt. Gilead Full Gospel Church.
The Cast: Wages of Sin stars Shamece Stewart as Bianca; Jamilah Clay as Diamond; Khidhra Smith as Tiffany; Corey Todd as Derek; Jiqoy Nicholas as Walter; Joseph Claughton as Michael; Jerrell Claughton as Jamar; Darius Jones as D-Ray; Chris Ware as Boo; Donnetta Mangum as Angela; Shanita Griffin as Jessica; Jevata Herman as Rachael; Tiffany Coleman as Mrs. Williams; April O’Garro as Mrs. Foster; John O’Garro as Mr. Foster
Independent Thinker: Kyia was born July 4, 1993. The young writer looks up to screenwriter and playwright Tyler Perry but has her own vision for her plays: “It just comes. I’ll see someone just walking down the street and I just watch them and write that down. Or if I see someone on TV, the idea will cross my head.”
Giving Back: Last year, Kyia presented her first play, “Sow Back” about a group of friends. “They grew up in a bad neighborhood,” Kyia says. “They didn’t really have a lot. When they grew up, they got big-headed and forgot about where they came from. So throughout the whole play, they go back and talk to everyone and just minister.”
The Premiere: “The title Wages of Sin was taken from Romans 6:23 where it says ‘For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.’ It talks about peer pressure and it promotes abstinence. It talks about three high school couples. Bianca and Derek are a cheerleader and basketball player. Diamond and Walter, they’re the Christians. Then there’s Tiffany and Boo. They don’t care, [they’re] just out there. The couples are on different spiritual levels. The play shows how each of them deal with sex. They’re all popular. At one point it’s a ministry for the girls and then it’s a ministry for the guys. It’s a really, really good play for youth, but also for adults as well, because adults need to live holy as well.”
Goal for Her Plays: “To encourage young people. In high school, a lot of things are going on. You’ve got peer pressure, there’s drinking and partying. I have a heart for people, especially for young people, to encourage them to do the best they can do. They shouldn’t be limited to things just because of their age. I want to encourage them just to live a pure and Christian lifestyle.”
Kyia’s Message to Teens: “I really want them to know that it is possible to live an abstinent life. Even if the world says it’s hard to do a certain thing, they can do it. You just have to have God backing you up. I want all my plays to encourage them. Adults, keep pushing the children so they can go forth and do whatever God called them to do.”
Grandmother Shirley Hawkins
“It’s exciting for me because she could be doing so many other things, and at 15 just to have a heart for other people and want them to be the best they can be. I know it’s not easy. But she refuses to let that peer pressure bother her. I’m excited as a mother as well as a grandmother. I tried to instill those values in my daughter and then she has instilled them in Kyia. I’m grateful that I was able to live to see it.”
Mother LaVonda Branch
“I encourage parents to really spend time with their children and help bring out their gifts. Don’t be so busy that you don’t have time to listen and really get back to parenting.”
www.kyiaproductions.org Tickets for “Wages of Sin” are $20 available at Barky’s Records, 18 E. Broad St.; West End Hair, 8906 Broad St. and at Henrico Theatre the day of the production.