‘What's Behind the Makeup': Dallas Pastor Writes Play for Domestic Violence Awareness

A pastor from South Oak Cliff is going beyond the sermon to help his congregation. He wrote a play about the hidden pain of domestic violence. It runs this weekend at Ideal Family Church.

NBC 5 was there for a preview, and to talk about the powerful story behind the play.

Inside the doors of Ideal Family Church, you'll normally hear words that lift you up from Bishop Ray Campbell.

"But sometimes we have to take action," Campbell said. "We have to put foot to our prayers."

On stage, Campbell directs the action.

"Make that passionate, let's keep on going," he told the actors during a Thursday night rehearsal.

The words are Campbell's, too, from the pages of his play, "What's Behind the Makeup."

"I see it each day and I get calls each day. People are being abused," Campbell said.

To one woman watching from the back of the room, it is art imitating life.

"I cried the first time I saw it, because it's so real. It's actually how things happen," Ebonie Banks said.

She lost a close cousin to domestic violence.

"She married him at a young age, 17 years old, and he began abusing her shortly after they got married," Banks said.

Her cousin, Tosha Pruitt, tried to leave her husband more than once. But he wouldn't let her go.

"He murdered her in the front yard. He shot her two times in the back of the head," Banks said.

Campbell was there for Pruitt's funeral, and that's when it hit him.

"I saw a family there suffering because of what had happened, and I decided, the Lord spoke to me really, and said something has to be done about this from the faith community," Campbell said.

He wrote the play to shine a light on the hidden pain of domestic violence.

"Living in fear is a crazy thing," Banks said. "Having to look over your shoulder and see if that person is there."

Through the play, the actors walk through the deadly pattern from manipulation and isolation, to physical abuse and the final act that no one can undo.

"This play, it brings out everything," Banks said.

And when the lights come on Saturday night, there will be resources in the crowd.

"We have counselors. We have assistants from the district attorney's office," Campbell said. "If they want a divorce, if they want to know how to get out, if they need shelter for them and their children."

In the play's first run, people lined up for that help.

"I think we are making a difference in this area, it's going to take more than me," Campbell said.

It's the start of something.

"It's coming out. It's coming out. I believe that," Banks said. "People are starting to realize that this is not right, you can't keep hiding it."

The play runs Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. at the Ideal Family Church, 1000 Red Bird Lane in Dallas. All are welcome.

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