by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
The producer of the drama, “Voice of the Fatherless Child,” will trade tickets for toys for his upcoming holiday play, “I Want A Father for Christmas.”
The toys will be given to children of a family selected to receive the Christmas of their dreams, complete with Christmas decorations—including a tree—inside and outside the family’s home. The parents would receive a gift card.
“A lot of organizations pass out toys. I commend them for their efforts, but I wanted to do something a child would always remember: Having Christmas decorations, a tree, toys and gifts,” said Monte Mabra, playwright and director of operations for the organization that carries the name of his play, which is in the third year of production.
“Voice of the Fatherless Child”—which was staged last summer at Destiny Youth Center, 76th Street and Good Hope Road—deals with the impact of a fatherless home on the child (especially on male children), conflict and resentment between the mother and father, breaking the cycle of incarceration, and teaches young males about fatherhood and young girls about virtue and self-worth.
A full-time student at MATC in its human services program, Mabra, grew up fatherless and spent time in prison.
“When I was in prison, I overheard young men say they resented their dads not being there. When I heard it, I thought it sounded silly. But it’s different when you’re on the outside looking in.”
Mabra credited God for inspiring him to put down on paper his feelings and experiences as a fatherless child who had to learn—albeit the hard way—how to be a father who is present in his child(ren)’s life.
Mabra’s first production was staged while he was in prison in 2005, taking what he had written and bringing it to life. The reaction to his play was astonishing.
“Grown men (inmates) were crying,” Mabra remembers. “It was easy for them to relate to it.
“Voice of the Fatherless Child” also focuses on reasons why some fathers are not in the home.
“The father is either dead, in prison, a deadbeat or doesn’t know how to be a father,” Mabra explained in a recent interview. “The play also deals with peer pressure, teen pregnancy and sex, youths waived into adult court, and males meeting their father or sibling in prison.”
In the play, the son meets the father while both are incarcerated in the same prison.
The play has drawn raves from the community and political leaders, the faith-based community, and various organizations and businesses that have supported Mabra and his efforts to educate and uplift through dramatic presentations of real life and its pitfalls.
A number of businesses matched money and resources with their accolades. Home Depot building supplies, which has supported Mabra’s production for three years, provided materials and helped build the prison set used in the play.
Mabra also credited Chase Bank, Everest College, Crest Cadillac, Eagle Flair Printing, CYD, Divine Wear, Christian Faith Church (where the upcoming Christmas production will be staged), Destiny Youth Plaza (where “Voice of the Fatherless Child” was presented), and the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative for their support.
A number of the aforementioned businesses are also supporting the Christmas Play.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the Christmas Drive or reserve some of the 1,400 tickets for toys can call 306-2107. Tickets are $5 or you can give a toy for a ticket.