Hitland brought its annual production of “The Grave Robber” back to San Quentin with a message of love and the question of what will you do with your life after death.
As men filed into the foyer of the Protestant Chapel they were met by a large portrait of a young man and on the portrait read 1988-2011.
The eerie sound of an organ played as men in blue shirts accented with white carnations escorted inmates into the candle-lit sanctuary. As the ceremony began, a family sat in the front row weeping and mourning.
Derrick Holloway said, “I sensed a feeling of finality each step I took, I wondered if this is for real.”
A priest stood and prayed and gave a eulogy while a somber feeling hovered over the audience.
Garvis Brown, who played the priest, became a member of the Hitland team after visiting his brother behind the glass at San Quentin for 14 years.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS
“God has shown me that people need to come in and present themselves as brothers and sisters,” said Brown. “People need to heal themselves from bitterness and anger toward inmates.”
Team said they feel their production serves the inmate population.
Ryan Rhoads played the best friend of Tommy, a young man facing life after death. “Jesus said, He came to give us life in John 10:10; it doesn’t say He came to tell us how horrible we are.”
The production raised issues of life after death, adding a message of love. As graphic images progress through Tommy’s childhood and adulthood, the audience looked at the big screen attentively as he faces the consequences of his poor choices.
Brad Walker, founder of Hitland Productions, is known at San Quentin as the “hot dog man” because he passes out free hot dogs to inmates.
“Hitland is about three things: preaching the Gospel, raising people up in the ministry, and breaking down the walls. This is a psychological thriller that invites the audience into its production. The point is to blur the reality of realness and production,” Walker said. “We’re assaulting your mind to crack open your heart. The choices you make in life will affect your after life.”
Hitland Productions is preparing for another day of hot dogs and live entertainment for the month of July.
The team includes Brad Walker, Marti Walker, Ken Brown, Lorraine, Ryan Rhoades and Garvis Brown.