'Real Love Shouldn't Hurt' comes to West Point

Cast members Shavonna Lewis, Dana Clayborn, Soleeta Morton, Chloe Morton, Dasha Gardner, Destiny Morton and Lorenzo Abrams, rehearse for "Real Love Shouldn't Hurt." The play will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at The Civic in West Point.
Staff Writer

West Point native Belinda Rice is bringing her latest play, ""Real Love Shouldn't Hurt" to The Civic, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6.

Rice produced her first play, "When All Hell Breaks Loose," in 2011. She has written the follow up to that play, called "Real Love Shouldn't Hurt." The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at The Civic in West Point. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door. All proceeds go toward the cost of the venue and creating the production.

"The play was very successful in its debut in Columbus," Rice said. "But there were a lot of people who know me here in West Point who couldn't make it that night. I've had a lot of people ask if we could have an encore production here at home."

Rice said she would quote Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and say there is no place like home.

"I'm not doing these plays to make money," Rice said. "I feel in my heart that this is the way I need to go in order to reach people. 'When All Hell Breaks Loose' had a scene of domestic violence in it. That is the scene I took to create ' Real Love Shouldn't Hurt.’”

Marcus Richmond of Servanthood Outreach has been supporting Rice by allowing the cast to use their church facility for rehearsals.

"My wife and I went to see the play in Columbus," Richmond said. "We thought it was amazing. Belinda is doing such good work to get the message out that there is healing from domestic abuse. As Christians we know that God can heal and restore us and help us with the pain we suffer in our lives."

Rhonda Richmond said she would encourage churches to come and see the play. She said she believes it would be wonderful for youth ministries.

Rice said she grew up with domestic abuse in her home by her step-father. That was the basis for her marrying young. That marriage failed and her second husband was abusive.

"I was so ashamed of what was happening," Rice said. "I didn't want anyone to know and I thought I was the only one this was happening to. I received information of places I could go and be safe until I was free of him. I want to share that with other women and men who might be caught up in domestic violence."

She said reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, often referred to as the "Love Chapter" in the Bible, is where the inspiration for the play originated.

"I read all the verses that say what love is," Rice said. "That's what we need to measure what we think of as 'love' against. It is patient, kind, gentle, not proud. If it can't stand up to 1 Corinthians 13, it isn't love."

Rice said her heart aches for young women today who think domestic abuse is normal. They see their mother being abused and when their boyfriends hit them, or call them names, that's just how life is.

"I want them to know there is another way," Rice said. "People who hit you, call you names, tell you that you are worthless and stupid, don't love you. Real love builds you up. It doesn't hurt. The person who mistreats you is just wanting control, not love."

Rice wants her message to resonate in the black and white communities. She said abuse doesn't know color, financial situation, or where a person lives.

"The play has places where the audience will laugh, they may cry, but mostly I want them to think," Rice said.

Rice said that through this play, she wants people to understand real love doesn't hurt. People who truly love aren't abusive. She wants people in abusive relationships to know they aren't alone and there is help available.

"I've been writing for 30 years," Rice said. "God gave me a gift and expects me to use it."

Rice said she is from West Point, as are several other cast members, but the entire cast is from the Golden Triangle area.

Advance tickets are available at the Sa Walk Barbershop on Main Street and Golden Shears Barbershop on Washington Street, Tish's Nu Look, Supercuts and adding The Popcorn Palace in Starkville.

For more information email Rice at earthangelproductions@gmail.com.