Award-Winning Playwright, Vickie L. Evans, Takes Domestic Violence Stage Play To Washington, DC

Photo Courtesy of Amy Stewart

AWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT, VICKIE L. EVANS TAKES HER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS PLAY TO WASHINGTON, DC

Local playwright, Vickie L. Evans takes her award-winning stage play, A Change Is Gonna Come to Washington DC, this weekend, April 22 and 23 at THEARC Theater. She is accompanied by four local cast members, Durand Bivens, (who portrays the lead character, Pastor James Sills), Cassandra O'Neal (Betty Parker, the neighbor), Brittany Caldwell (The Defense Attorney) and Yolanda Walton, the assistant director/stage manager who also has an extra role as the court reporter.

A Change Is Gonna Come deals with a very controversial form of domestic violence...spiritual abuse. It depicts how positions of authority can manipulate and control others with deceit and misinterpretation. It dispels the notion that domestic violence happens to only certain class of people...it affects every level of society...every age group...every ethnicity...every cultural...even religion. Although it deals with a specific aspect of domestic violence, it raises awareness of the universal forms of abuse that includes psychological, sociological, emotional, and physical.

Why tackle such a complex topic as domestic violence using theater? Vickie is a child witness of domestic violence, who grew up in a community where domestic violence was comparative to a spectator sport...especially on the weekends. Public displays of intimate partner violence occurred at any given moment at weekly baseball games, concerts, cookouts, etc., as children and adults watched as if it was a sitcom on television. But, Vickie didn't have to wait until the weekend, domestic violence occurred within her home as well. "Many nights I was awakened by the sounds of blood-curdling screams and pounding fists. The last straw occurred when my Dad fired a bullet at my mom that nearly grazed my face. My mother made a decision to leave with haste (prior to my senior year in high school) and we fled like fugitives in the middle of the night, with suitcase in hand, and boarded a flight from Houston, Texas to Seattle, Washington. That's when our emancipation began!"

Why Washington, DC? Eight domestic violence murders have occurred in PG County, Maryland (an adjourning county of Washington DC) since the year began. This is a statistic that we cannot ignore or sweep under the rug. Change will have a representative from a domestic violence advocacy organization present to distribute resources for anyone who may be in a domestic violence relationship. Change is a life-changing testimonial and has received highly acclaimed reviews. Many victims and survivors have shared testimonies on how this stage play impacted their lives and how accurate it is in displaying the signs of abuse.

Although this is a serious message, it is also entertaining. The obnoxious character "Daddy Sills", portrayed by Teddy Awua of Washington, DC bring some light-hearted (comical) moments as well. Velocity Magazine awarded Change four top honors: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director for Vickie.

What is so unique about A Change Is Gonna Come is it compilation of actors from three different regions: Charlotte, NC; Washington, DC; and Philadelphia, PA. The bulk of their rehearsals occur on a telephone conference line. Yet, the acting in Change is second to none. The lead actress, Shari Hill, gives a very convincing portrayal of First Lady Lisa Sills because she is actually a domestic violence survivor and her ex-husband (abuser) was an associate minister. She adds validity to the story-line. Durand Bivens (Pastor James Sills), who is nothing like his character in real life, is so intense in his portrayal of an abuser that the director is considering assigning a bodyguard to him. Cassandra O'Neal (Betty Parker) is the out-spoken neighbor confidante of First Lady Lisa Sills. Wanda Spence, from Washington DC, delivers a prolific monologue as Judge Mary Harrison. Brenda Buckner (Washington DC), who has been with the production since its inception, sets the tone as the host in her portrayal of "Abuse". Vickie Evans is so honored for the opportunity to lead such an awesome cast who has so much passion, commitment and dedication. "It is a dream come true for me to fulfill my dream in presenting my writing gift in such a passionate way!"

Defense Attorney (Brittany Caldwell)
Prosecutor, (Yvette America)
Photo Courtesy Travis Riddick
First Lady Sills (Shari Hill)
Pastor Sills (Durand Bivens)
Group Picture of Cast Courtesy Travis Riddick

**A Change Is Gonna Come will be performed at THEARC Theater, 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20020 for two shows this Friday, April 22 at 8 pm and Saturday, April 23 at 3 pm. Tickets can be easily purchased on website http://www.pals4life.net



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