Perry play gives people more than just a laugh

Austin welcomed Tyler Perry with open arms Jan. 17 as he presented his play The Haves and the Have Nots at the Long Center.  Before the show, the audience sat in anticipation expecting a good laugh. After all, Perry is known for his colorful, over-the-top characters and his sometimes iffy story lines.

But as the curtains went up and the play started, the audience soon realized that laughter was not the only thing being served. What the audience got was a well performed, heartfelt story filled with honesty, brutal realities, powerful music and, of course, comedy.

The play focused on two families — one with wealth and one without. Grandma Haitie is the matriarch of the second family. She has let her daughter Rose, son-in-law Frank and grandson Wallie come and live with her.

The opening scene starts with depressing news that their house is currently being foreclosed, and within three days they will be out on the streets. Frank is currently unemployed, and Rose works as a maid. Things start to look up when Rose’s boss, Louis, offers Frank a job to help him get on his feet.

The scene is changed to the mansion of newlyweds Louis and Diane. He is a rich businessman, and she is a spoiled gold-digger who manipulates and lies to get what she wants.

Rose has been Louis’ maid for six years, but things become complicated when Frank starts working for the wealthy couple. The lady of the house, Diane, starts making advances to her new employee and makes it her personal mission to break up his marriage.

Meanwhile, the teenage son of Rose and Frank, Wallie, feels that it is his responsibility to raise the money to save their house from foreclosure.  He starts dealing drugs and finds himself in jail.

As the story unfolds, audience’s hearts ache for the characters facing their own personal trials and tribulations. Frank, the husband, is overwhelmed with guilt because he cannot provide for his family. Rose, a wife and mother, who has always put her trust in God, is now faced with news of her husband’s alleged indiscretions and her son’s run-in with the law.

Louis, a man rich with money and power, has to come to the harsh reality that money may buy a young, beautiful wife, but it cannot buy happiness. And finally, Diane, the seductive adulteress battles her own demons.

Two characters soften the blow of the seriousness of the tough issues addressed. Haitie is the encouraging elder who has much advice to give and many stories to tell, while Floyd is a friend to everyone. He knows all, sees all, and is not afraid to tell all. Together the two bring nonstop comic relief.

Like Perry’s preceding plays and movies The Haves  and the Have Nots brings a message focusing on real life events and how to find strength from God. This play tells the story that having great wealth is not determined by money, but by love, joy, hope and peace.

Author: Nicole Johnson

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