Up & Coming Weekly

November 08, 2022

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1483691

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 28

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 18 UCW NOVEMBER 9 - 15, 2022 Alondria McCoy is the founder of Alon Entertainment and the writer and director of "First Lady the Stage Play" — a story of domestic violence and mental health in the church. Fact vs. Fiction is play is based on a true story. McCoy had a co-worker that detailed what happened to her as a First Lady, a title given to the wife of a church pastor. McCoy could not believe such horrendous things happened to the woman and inquired if she could turn the woman's story into a stage play. e woman did not believe her story could be used for a stage play, but McCoy voiced she had the back- ground in it and it could happen. For two and a half months, details of the woman's story resided on sticky notes as McCoy pieced the story together. It didn't take her long to get the story together. On open- ing night, her co-worker sat in the audience and watched as her expe- rience was told through a stage play. After the show, her co-worker had tears in her eyes and told McCoy to have this play shown to the masses. "Where I grew up in the church, I would have never thought this was real," she said. "I've never seen any- thing like this in the church. It was easy for me to make a play of it." For the last six years, McCoy has done this show multiple times in different locations in the Carolinas and Virginia. To individuals who are wonder- ing why this stage play on domestic violence is unique, this story is from a different perspective. In religious situations, when someone has a burden to bear, like domestic violence, they go to their pastor or leaders in the church. In this story, the First Lady does not have anyone to go to because her abuser is the pastor and well- loved by the community. e cast is full of pastors, profes- sionals and entrepreneurs that want to bring some form of awareness to domestic violence — education in the form of entertainment. Community resources on mental health and domestic violence will be available the night of the perfor- mance. McCoy said this is done by contacting the county in advance before they perform in a city and the county informs them of the organi- zations and resources available. She said she does this because someone may never go to a church or therapist, but they might go to the stage play where the lobby has information on their different options. Mental health conversation "Domestic violence and mental health is an issue in every com- munity," McCoy said. "We focus on African Americans because we know the struggles that lie in those communities." She added that domestic violence and mental illness have no color or gender and can happen to anyone. "We're not just trying to help the African American community, we want to help everyone. We want ev- eryone to know that this is a serious issue and we want to help them get out of it." Over the years, attendees of the show have said "I felt that punch" or "I felt that slap." "Mental illness is not talked about enough," McCoy said. Cherie Porter plays "Victoria," the First Lady of the church. Jewalle Wright plays "Linda." Porter said it is a taboo topic because of the fear of admitting mental illness. People worry others will say, "You're crazy." She said the best way to heal is to talk. Wright added "Discussing mental health will help us to understand that we are not alone because a mental illness is not to be fought alone. We all need each other in some way. Connecting with oth- ers is more important than one might think. It can decrease levels of anxiety and depression, it can help us navigate our emotions, and much more, which can improve our overall well-being." "e resources were not available to a lot of African American communities to talk to someone," McCoy said. She said that now there is a more significant opportunity for African Americans to get help and talk to someone in a clini- cal profession, not just a spiritual counselor like a pastor or minister. "Sometimes you need clinical advice more than spiritual," she said. "Someone licensed and skillful." While certain African American communities may have more re- sources for clinical help for coun- seling, McCoy said there is still a stigma on medication. She said she wants people to understand that just because they are prescribed medicine doesn't mean they are crazy. She said there are various coping mechanisms to utilize that a licensed professional can tell them about. "ere are options and we want people to know there are options," she said. 'What goes on in our house, stays in our house' is phrase may seem familiar to many individuals and McCoy and Porter gave their thoughts on it. "I believe it is the biggest miscon- ception that can be used with that phrase," McCoy said. "Sometimes you begin to function in dysfunc- tion. When you begin to act in a cer- tain behavior, it can become normal for you and before you know it, you don't feel like anything is wrong with the state you are in or recognize help is needed." She said there are many forms of abuse — physical, psychological, verbal or how the abuser looks at the victim. McCoy said this includes the men who are abused by women, but because they are taught not to hit a woman, the woman physically harms him. "First Lady the Stage Play" will be Nov. 12 in Seabrook Auditorium, on the Fayetteville State University campus. Doors open at 6 p.m. e pre-show starts at 6:30 p.m. e play begins at 7 p.m. e Seabrook Auditorium is located at 1200 Murchison Road. Ticket prices for the production range from $25 to $35. For more information, visit https://alon-entertainment1. ticketleap.com/first-lady-the-stage- play/. Play shines a light on domestic violence and mental health in church community to encourage conversation by KATRINA WILSON EVENT Cherie Porter is Victoria, the main character in the production. KATRINA WILSON, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200 Alondria McCoy wrote and produces "First Lady the Stage Play." McCoy is the founder of Alon Entertainment. Jewalle Wright performs in the play as Linda. "First Lady the Stage Play" discusses domestic violence and mental illness in the church community. e show is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Seabrook Auditorium on the FSU campus. (All photos courtesy Alon Entertainment)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - November 08, 2022