Rhonda Williams, aka R. Renee, authors her second stage production

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article consists of a review from Empower magazine and contains biographical information about the author, HPD Sgt. Rhonda Williams.

Houston playwright R. Renee takes the audience on a journey of twists and turns centered on the traumatic experience of a teenage girl and the dramatic ripple effects of a youthful decision that sends her in hiding, and the miraculous way God intervenes to turn tragedy into purpose.

In this eye-opening play, R. Renee intertwines faith and trauma into a powerful story of redemption for a young girl who the audience meets as she is wheeled in on a stretcher and code blues but is brought back to life when she hears the voice of God telling her to not give up and trust Him with her life.

Now, B&G readers know the playwright as Sgt. Rhonda Williams, an HPOU Board member and coordinator of the Union’s family fun nights and the annual scholarship fund, has written her second play. Her first, performed in 2020 and earlier this year, was When Love Finds You, it received positive reviews that were very encouraging to a first-time playwright and an inspiration to complete her second work designed for the stage.

Williams is a Houston woman through and through – a graduate of Jack Yates High School with degrees from Houston Community College, University of Houston—Downtown (bachelor’s degree) and UH-Clear Lake (Master of Arts). Initially, she worked with HPD as a civilian in the Identification, Planning and Development and Neighborhood Protection divisions.

In 1995 she became a member of HPD Cadet Class No. 162. The rest of the story that is “history” has many highlights, including the fact that Williams became a sergeant the first time she took the test.

All along this path over the past 25 years Sgt. Williams has adhered to her strong devotion to God and to the HPD, not to mention the members of the Houston Police Officers Union and their families.

She is a strong believer in unity and finding a common ground on which people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs can work together. Williams received her mediation certificate from the Dispute Resolution Center of Harris County. Currently she serves in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Department’s Grievance and Mediation Unit

In this latest work, Love Hurts, the audience is introduced to July, the First Lady of a local church that is steeped in the traditions of the past. July has received a vision from God to infuse a fresh new spirit into an annual women’s conference when she is met with resistance from “Sister Important,” one of the “mothers of the church,” and is confronted with some of the deep, dark secrets that she had tried to leave buried in her past.

The Houston playwright expertly weaves innuendo and a dash of speculation into the fold throughout the remainder of the play as July seeks to follow the voice of God but finds herself entangled between an embittered husband, the church’s pastor who has become disillusioned with God, and a mother who offers her son-in-law a listening ear but appears, on the surface, to be getting too close for comfort.

In her period of self-discovery and reflection, July meets August, a woman who challenges her to recognize how blessed she is to have the love of a mother and shares her own tale of how “love hurts.” By the end of the play, the audience has navigated so many twists and turns that they never see the final scene coming that unfolds God’s plan of redemption in each of the characters’ lives. After a rollercoaster ride of emotions, playgoers are left cheering as this cast of imperfect people each witness God’s power to transform their trauma into triumph.

When Love Hurts takes a hard look at the harsh realities of life that would have some count us out but shows how one woman’s reignited faith and refusal to be defined by her past becomes the door God uses to impact the lives of many.

With expert ease, the Houston playwright, joined by a talented ensemble cast, uses the raw and unfiltered truth of human frailties to show the power of God to turn the heartache, pain and disillusionment of a band of ordinary people into a reawakened hope and faith that points each of them back to Him.

When Love Hurts is a must-see play that leaves you on the edge of your seat, unsure of how the broken pieces of the play’s characters will be put back together, until God shines His light into the dark places of their hearts and guides them onto a new path to unfold His purposes for their lives.

The main cast that brings this dramatic play to life under R. Renee’s direction, includes Selina Affram (as July), Curtis Martin (as the Husband), Olevia Brown (as Mother Royalty), Christina Lockett (as Sister Love), Nedra Bell (as August), and Byrona Johnson (Sister Important) and Sorteria Martin (as the patient).

Sponsored by the Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU), Sterling Portfolio Maagers, LLC, General Orders No. 3 Vodka, Skipper Lee & Sons Eternal Rest Funeral Home, GULFGATE Dodge Chrysler Jeep & Ram, Mr. Jones, Darrell L. Wright Attorney at Law and Discovering A New Life, Inc., and silent sponsors, the play also received support from Mattie Provost of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, AMDCreativesStudio, Houston This Is It Soul Food, Mr. Jones, IDoCustomElopements.com, Growth Nail & Self Care Spa, The Christina Lockett Show, Chelsea Cymone and VgnBae Music Group.

For more information on R. Renee Productions and to see plans for upcoming plays, visit www.rreneeproductions.com.