Local play looks at truth and consequences

When the Rev. James Hull wrote his fictional play, ‘Heartstrings,” he had three real people in mind.
All of them got sucked into a world of drugs and gambling. One landed in jail, and another ended up dead.
The third found his way back to family life and community, and eventually wrote a play about his experiences.
“It was a long, hard trip, but I eventually found my way home,” said Hull, the writer, director and producer for the production of “Heartstrings” at Link Centre.
His story centers on a young married man named Mickey, a smart guy with a job who gets seduced into the street life.
At first, he spends weekends hustling with his cousin, but his decisions start spilling over at home and work.
“The play is set in the time when there was a social phenomenon called ‘street life,’” Hull said. “It was a convergence of hustlers, gamblers and dopers with everyday, common working people.
“They converged on the weekend. The people who lived the real street life were joined by the people who played the street life for two and a half days a week.”

‘Unsettled’
The three-act play is set in West Point in the late ’70s or early ’80s.
“Most of it takes place in the family home,” Hull said, “so you see the effect on Mickey’s family.”
Some characters will be played by different members of Hull’s Agape Community Theatre during different performances. Romale Lovelace will share the role of Mickey with Tyreese Westbrook.
“Mickey is kind of confused, first of all,” Lovelace said. “He’s unsettled with his roots.
He doesn’t really believe in the way his mama
tried to rear him.”
Della Carson, who’s portrayed by Christine Madison, has a big personality, and she provides a few comedic moments in an otherwise dramatic play.
Alivia Roberts is one of three actresses who play Della’s daughter, Tanya. Roberts said Della is a force to be reckoned with.
“There’s a part when my mother looks at me,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t embarrass me. It just makes me go quiet. She stares me into being quiet.”

‘Needs a name’
In the play, Mickey’s mother is the least of his problems.
He’s got a wife who’s ready to become a mother, but Mickey’s not willing to trade the street life for domestic bliss. His choices create hard realities for all of the characters in “Heartstrings.”
“The name came about after the first time it was staged. At that time, it was called ‘A Three-Act Play by James Hull,’” Hull said. “A lady came up and said, ‘That play needs a name. I don’t care what you call it, but it tugs at my heartstrings.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

Ticket information
When: Thursday, September 17 – September 26, 2009
Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For reservations or more information call 662.678.6132. In the Link Centre Concert Hall.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal