‘I Did What I Had to Do’ play coming to Langdale Auditorium

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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The cast of the original stage play, “I Did What I Had to Do,” by DiShan Patrice will be back to reprise their roles at the Langdale Auditorium in Valley, Alabama on June 8. There will be two shows, a matinee and an evening show at 7 p.m.

The play, a story encompassing many important voices and giving a voice to victims of sexual abuse, is layered with meaning for Patrice, the playwright and director. The show marks the 20th anniversary of the first stage play she ever did, which also happened to be at Langdale Auditorium.

“It was important to me to bring it back home,” Patrice said. 

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Since then, Patrice has lived in Los Angeles and created several popular stage plays, and films and also became a best-selling author. She wrote two novels, “The Preacher’s Wifey” and “Diary of a Mad First Lady,” as well as many other books. She also wrote and produced multiple stage plays, films and reality shows such as “When Loving You was Killing Me,” “The Housewives of Atlanta” and “Hiphop of Atlanta.” 

But now after many years, she has returned to the Valley to tell this story because of its special meaning to her family. “I Did What I Had to Do,” in part, tells the story of the sexual abuse that Patrice’s own daughter, who performs in the play, endured.

“I wanted this to bring awareness to sexual abuse [victims],” Patrice said. 

That was another reason why coming home to tell this story was important to Patrice, who said she wanted to be amongst her support system.

Part of the proceeds for the show will go to a foundation called Squeaky Speaks, dedicated to her daughter. Its mission is to give a voice to children who have suffered sexual abuse and create a safe space for adult victims who too often haven’t ever told their stories. 

In fact, Patrice said she has been approached by many audience members who thanked her for telling their story. 

Now a single mom of two, Patrice also has a passion for helping single mothers and mothers of sexually abused children. 

After the success that she had in Los Angeles, Patrice said she wanted to pass opportunities forward for up and coming talent back home in LaGrange, West Point and the Valley area. 

“I’m passionate about casting local people,” Patrice said, adding that it’s important to her to bring opportunities like this to local artists and actors. “If I can’t reach back out to my community, what’s the point?”

Many local actors have been cast in the play. The full cast is Arshianna Reece, Darian Howell, Armealia Florence, Dray Tate of the Legendary Williams Brothers, Desmond Reece, Shaneka Everette, Pastor Andre Chapple and Karla Nicole. 

Patrice said the majority of the cast is from the local area. She said they have done a great job and she plans to take the show and its original cast on tour. 

Looking ahead, Patrice plans to start her television network, Pure Vision Network, which will launch on June 8. 

There are many original productions planned down the line for Pure Vision Network, including a partnership with April Ross of BeeTV to produce “A Man Again,” a second rendition of Patrice’s original story called “A Man.” 

Patrice encouraged the community to come out to support the cast so they could continue to build on their momentum. She said she wants people to know “how important it is to support local talent.”