The Haves and the Have Nots (play)
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The story follows the life of a wealthy family that has everything they need and most of what they want. The characters are often preoccupied with superficial things, until they are forced to become involved with their housekeeper. When the poverty-stricken maid is forced to ask for help, the family gets a chance to see how the other half lives. While coming to the rescue of the needy, it soon becomes painfully clear, who is really in need of saving.
Our story opens very early on a Monday morning, at the home of Grandma Hattie Mae. Hattie has allowed her daughter and son in law to move into her home with their son Wallie. The morning silence is broken by the ring of the telephone. Hattie is afraid to answer. The bank has given her three days to pay up the mortgage, or the struggling family will be evicted. Tensions are rising for Frank who feels responsible as the man of the house. Frank has been out of work for months, causing the family to be supported by the sole income of Rose who works as a maid for a wealthy real estate giant, Louis Willis.
After months of avoiding phone calls from the bank, Frank finally gets a break when Louis hires him to be a handyman at the Willis estate. Rose is elated that her prayers have finally been answered. Frank is cautiously optimistic, but excitedly prepares for his new job as a handyman. That morning at the Willis home, Floyd, the wise-cracking and feisty chef, played by Palmer Williams Jr., is hilariously negative about Rose allowing Frank to work for the wealthy couple. Floyd is convinced that Louis’ much younger wife, Diane, will snatch Frank right from under Rose’s nose.
It soon becomes painfully clear that Floyd’s madness was not craziness at all. Diane goes after Frank the moment she sees him. Rose is completely unaware of the depths to which her boss Diane will stoop when trying to satisfy her insatiable appetite for strapping young men. While Rose and Frank consume themselves with saving the home that Hattie has lived in for over thirty years, Wallie has been deeply affected by the fears of being homeless. Only Hattie is aware that Wallie has been running the streets at night. It is not until Wallie is arrested for shoplifting that Rose discovers that her honor-roll son has decided to walk a different path.
Frank and Wallie finally face off when Frank overhears his son lashing out about how Frank is a sorry husband and father. Wallie has learned on the streets that all men have a side hustle, and are always able to support their families. It is a bitter pill to swallow when Frank realizes that his son has lost respect for him, and blames him for the family’s impending doom.
It is under these circumstances that the struggling family will have to pray for a miracle when their worlds begin to spiral out of control. Hattie, an old woman who has survived a mountain of challenges, finds herself more afraid than she has ever been. Rose, the strong and virtuous matriarch of her family, stands firmly on her faith when she tells Hattie that she has to meet God for the first time. At the end of her rope, Hattie lifts her arms in a miraculous and desperate show of faith and power. It will take both of the women to battle the principalities coming against their family unit.
Meanwhile, Frank is put in a treacherous situation when Diane maligns Rose with lies and deceit, while offering to write a check to Frank in exchange for sexual favors. Frank is tested like never before when he is presented by an opportunity to save his family by betraying the sacred relationship he has with his wife.
Frank’s impeccable character lifts him out of the situation in time to discover that Wallie has become a money making drug dealer. When Frank finally discovers the stacks of cash and drugs, he is ready to give everything he has to fight for his son’s life. Wallie has been so brainwashed by the streets that it will take the strength and love of a tough father to win the heart of his son back to the principles he was raised with.
It almost appears that Diane may have been successful in breaking up a happy home when Louis finally gains discernment and sees his young wife for what she is. Despite his displeasure, chagrin, and pain, Louis shows his maturity and washes his hands of the cold hearted termagant. Seeing the love that Frank and Rose have for one another, Louis intervenes to help the couple who are about to lose everything they have. In doing so, Louis experiences firsthand the power and the beauty of a family’s love.
- Palmer Williams Jr. as Floyd
- Patrice Lovely as Hattie
- Tony Hightower as Frank
- Alexis Jones as Diane
- Maurice Lauchner as Lewis
- Jeffery Lewis as Wallie
- Kislyck Halsey as Rose
TV series adaptation
The play was very loosely adapted into a television series on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Apart from featuring the lives of a wealthy family and poor-class one, the series is significantly different from the play featuring entirely new characters and situations. It premiered on May 28, 2013.
The Haves and the Have Nots released on DVD July 9, 2013 along with Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.