Playwright explores ‘Tough Love’
Published 11:07 pm Thursday, February 5, 2015
Gerron DelValle is excitedly anticipating the debut performance of his first play.
The 33-year-old student services liaison at The Pruden Center first published the tale, “Tough Love,” as a romance novel several years ago.
It tells of a young woman and her pastor father’s belief that her husband is unworthy of his daughter’s love.
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On Valentine’s Day, after he spent about a year on the adaptation, DelValle’s story will be brought to life onstage for the first time.
At Boogie’s Soul Food and Banquet Hall in Portsmouth, four actors including DelValle’s wife Kenya, a Nansemond River High School graduate, will give his tale of love the hard way a whole new dimension.
The husband in DelValle’s story works at a shipyard. When he wrote the novel, DelValle worked as a pipefitter at Newport News Shipbuilding, simultaneously studying toward the qualifications that helped land him the Pruden Center job.
In the end, a tragic event leads to a rapprochement between the father and the husband. The writer said that this, too, was informed by real life:
DelValle’s cousin suffered an aneurysm while pregnant. “They found a spot on her brain, and gave her the option to wait until after the birth or have surgery before,” he said.
They had to take the baby prematurely, DelValle said, and his cousin was expected to be in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of her life.
But, although she hasn’t fully recovered, she’s done better than doctors might have suspected, DelValle said.
“The boy is 18 now, and he’s really close to his mom,” he added.
A daughter, who was 1 when her brother was born, is studying to become a certified nursing assistant so she can take care of her mother, DelValle said.
DelValle said of how all this relates to his novel: “Basically, their disagreements were small, and it doesn’t seem to be small until something of this magnitude happens.”
“Their purpose now is her, and they both have undying love for her,” he added.
DelValle is also known in Suffolk for his performance in the “Tuskegee Love Letters” play at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.
He also has written and produced films, some of which his wife also acted in, and which he says have either been inspirational or faith-based.
DelValle has also done editing work for Petersburg-based actor, comedian and film director Tim Reid, and coordinated Reid’s International Film Festival last year.
The Feb. 14 event begins with dinner at 5 p.m. and the play starts at 6 p.m. Boogie’s is located at 107 Chowan Drive.
Tickets, available at the door, are $50 per couple or $30 per person, inclusive of dinner.