Island City Stage in Wilton Manors will offer a theatrical portrait of what it means to be Black and gay in America in its latest production, “One in Two” by Donja R. Love, Aug. 4 – Sept. 4.
Directed by the co-founder of Moxie Theatre in San Diego and NAACP theatre award-winner Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, “One in Two” refers to the sobering statistic that one in two Black men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetimes, according to a 2016 analysis by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As an added twist in this production, the audience chooses nightly which actor sitting in an ethereal clinic waiting room must portray the ill-fated lead character who will be diagnosed with HIV. The cast includes Kevane Coleman, Randall Swinton and Nathaniel J. Ryan.
"When I first discovered ‘One in Two’ during its Off-Broadway run, just prior to COVID, I knew it was a story we needed to tell,” said Andy Rogow, artistic director of Island City Stage. “We’re looking forward to sharing this story that is not often heard in our community — how HIV-positive vulnerable men are treated by the LGBT+ and Black communities. We hope theatre-goers will come away with a deeper understanding of this epidemic and be motivated to make a difference to help end this very real stigma and disease.”
On Monday, July 25 at 6 p.m., HIV activist, filmmaker and author Jesse Brooks (“Busting Stigma”) will address the intertwined social issues of being African American, gay and HIV-positive during “Black Men Speak: The Impact of HIV on the Black Community,” Island City Stage’s last Behind the Red Curtain public forum the season. The event will be held at ArtServe, 1350 W. Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, and is free.
Brooks is currently co-chair of the Bay Area State of Emergency Coalition (BASE), advocacy coordinator of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation of Northern California, and co-chair of UCSF/CAPS Research Community Advisory Board, and a weekly columnist for the largest African American paper in the Bay area. Brooks co-wrote and starred in the documentary “The Ceremony” and was involved in a PBS production, “The End Game: HIV/AIDS in Black America.”
The panel discussion will also include Lorenzo Robertson, founder of Ujima Men’s Collective; Ederick Johnson, HIV specialist with the Florida Department of Health; and Justin Jones, CEO of the Rapha Center. The forum will be moderated by World AIDS Museum and Educational Center Executive Director Terry Dyer.
“Black Men Speak: The Impact of HIV on the Black Community” will be held on Monday, July 25 at 6 p.m. at ArtServe, 1350 W. Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors, presents Donja R. Love’s “One in Two,” Aug. 4 – Sept. 4. Tickets are $35 at IslandCityStage.org.