A play about domestic violence — directed, produced and acted by celebrity survivors of domestic violence — a novel idea, right? The compelling musical drama, When Love Ain’t Enough addresses the subject matter with a straight forward approach that from beginning to doesn’t flinch or deviate from the target message. Rob Jackson, whose brother is an abuser and now convicted murderer having killed his wife, does a masterful job of directing the production and telling the story of women and abuse through the play’s lead character, Keisha, a beautiful but beleaguered young woman who struggles to escape the chaos of life with an abuser. The role is brilliantly played by newcomer EMI Morris.
“I used to call myself a victim, now I call myself a survivor,” says JR Productions producer Jai Curry. “Many of you don’t know that I was once locked in a trunk. Many don’t know that I was locked in a basement for two days,” she stated matter-of-factly to a stunned audience at the Sander Realty Center in Decatur, Ga.
The experience is one that is shared by more than a few cast members whose lives have been touched by — and in some cases nearly shattered by — the social plague.
Award-winning singer, Q Parker, of the R&B group 112, reflected on his reasons for signing on with the show. “I lost my first cousin to domestic violence. When my family comes to see this production, I know how it’s going to effect them because I know how devastated we were when my cousin was killed. The challenge was could I be a part of this and remove the emotion enough so that I could perform the part.”
Keke Wyatt’s passionate portrayal of a love-sick single mother is delivered too, through a personal bout with violence at the hands of an intimate partner. “This play is basically my story. I got married when I was 18 and was married for 10 years. It was bad, and I was abused for 10 years. I was nearly choked to death.” When asked “How did you get out?” Wyatt replies without emotion, “I stabbed him. Of course I was crazy for a little while, but I had to do what I had to do to save my life.”
Tony Terry’s riveting performance as the abuser, who comes to terms with his behavior and to God for redemption. “I knew that [director] Rob was special and this story was special when he started pulling things from me that I didn’t know were there. It went deeper and went to this really intense place. … I didn’t know this was his story. It made me treat the work differently.”
When Love Aint Enough is an elegantly grounded and hard-hitting drama that is well worth seeing.
Showtimes for May 22 performances are 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM at the Sanders Realty Center, 4184 Snapfinger Woods Drive or visit www.jrproductions.com