Jackiee Francis-Howard Tackles Abuse without Bashing Men
More often, than we care to admit, we find ourselves watching yet another loud, ultra-feminine, anti-man stage plays. You know those guilty-pleasures we all indulge in. There is usually a “Big Mama” type. Loving, forgiving, and keeps everyone on track. Then, there is the “Jezebel” or more commonly known now as the T.H.O.T (That * Out There / meaning she is without sexual sanity or morals). Finally, there is the masculine-female patriarch type. She is tough as nails and she does not need a man for anything. Be that as it may,playwright, Francis-Howard has set the record straight, “God hadn’t lead me that way.”
Saturday evening, April 18, 2015 at the Saenger Theater in Biloxi she presented her “Gospel Stage Play” “Where are All the REAL Men.” Woman and men from Harrison and Jackson County quickly filled the theater. Even Judge Robin Midcaf and her sister Monica Benjamin attended.
Although Howard does address abuse in her production, she “exposes” the reality to real life. Every character in the production has a weakness or is messed-up one way or another. She uses this production to show the many types of abuse and no, there are not all physical. There is an incident of child abuse, social abuse, and there is constant verbal abuse (not vulgar) throughout the whole production. If you are paying attention to the production, you will notice that a lot of abuse is coming from other women. Nosey relatives, trifling friends, unforgiving adult-children, and not to mention the self-abuse of thinking you have to put up with being used or mistreated in any shape or fashion. That is a principle that applies to everyone.
Karen Payne-Fountain, known in the production as “Dorothy” says, “I have dealt with mental abuse and verbal abuse, so it kind of helped me be the character I am… and to let people know that… abuse is abuse whether it is physical, mental, or verbal.” Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Karen says that those “words” can live with you forever. She goes on to say that they can keep you from rising above your situation.