Last night we witnessed the B.A. Blessing & JEM Productions play Honorably Diss-Charged. It was a really good and thought provoking play.
The play was about the struggles that veterans and their families face when going home. First Lady Michelle Obama has made veterans and their families one of her top priorities. This play got into those who slip through the cracks. It was written by Gerald Hall and directed by James Mack.
The play starred Giorgio “Gio” Johnson as Captain Elliott Pierce, who is struggling to deal with what he experienced during the war. His wife Yokie, played by Genesis Pate, is a cop who tries to be supportive of his struggle. Meanwhile, Private Deron Johnson played by Jason Tolliver, who was injured in the war, struggles financially while waiting to receive his veteran’s benefits. His wife Roxie, played by Stacy Buford, keeps pushing him to figure something out because she is pregnant and working 2 jobs to support them. Liliana Peterson, played by Carolyn Ford, struggles to keep a roof over her and her daughters’ heads as she is unemployed and her husband died in the war. Their representative in the Veteran Administration, Lieutenant Hailey, played by Marcina Van Allan-Evans, tries to insure her boss tends to these veterans’ needs. Her boss Captain Griffin, played by James Mack, continues to put it off. Meanwhile, House Representative Thompkins, played by Gerald Hall, is too busy playing politics and chasing Felicity Moss, played by Courtney Rogers, and her “talents” to really do his work. While waiting for their benefits, Pierce seeks help from Dr. Langford, played by Wanda Vazquez and Liliana tries to get a home from Royal Bannister, played by Michael Macklin, while being encouraged by her children, London (Araya Davenport), Paris (Nayla Vazquez), Rome (Arias Semirah Jacobs), and Chyna (Ahmya Elaine Merritt). There are even appearances by FLOTUS (Carmen Taylor) and POTUS (Kim Norah).
Overall the play brings to light the plight of veterans upon discharge. It deals with issues like rape, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, veteran suicide and the political machine. It was funny, but also with some powerfully emotional scenes, especially by Gio Johnson and Marcina Van Allan-Evans. Hopefully the play will be returning. For more info for this and other B. A. Blessing plays go to bablessingproductions.com.
Below are some photos taken of the stage play: