‘I have AIDS’ is a phrase that resounds within the play.’ “Before it Hits Home” is a critically acclaimed play that was presented by The Essential Theatre. It detailed the controversial and commonly misunderstood topic of AIDS.
Also, it deals with its implications on the infected and his family.
Throughout the play it shows the reality and misconceptions about the disease in time light and in a comical way, but still at others with gut-wrenching convincingness.
The story focuses on a bi-sexual man Wendal, played by James E. Webb Jr, who is torn between several worlds.
These worlds consist of, his long time girlfriend Simone, played by LaCora Stevens, equally long term married lover Douglass, played by LaKendrick Wester, and also his family.
These worlds begin to divide and crumble only after he finds out that he has been infected by the deadly disease. Yet, he knows not whom he contracted it from, adding more confusion and mayhem to the situation.
Throughout the entire play Webb demonstrates, to a severely convincing degree, the devastation that the disease can cause.
The play also establishes and conquers the taboos about the homosexual community and the idea that the gay life style is a sickness in the mindset of the black community.
Also it delves into the unacceptance and non-tolerance or non-understanding that comes with that mind state. This is apparent when Wendal’s own mother, played by Monica R. Woods, abandons him upon him telling her that he has AIDS.
It also shows the reverse side of receiving aid from an unexpected source.
Wendal’s father, played by Ric Mathis, who ridiculed and berated Wendal his entire life, stood by him whole-heartedly in his time of dispair.
At times the play was a little confusing. For example, when Wendal is telling both Douglass and Simone simultaneously yet at different times, that he is infected.
But other than that the play was truthful and emotional. It evoked many emotions and even a tear or two for some.
In fact, it may make one rethink the way he or she sees his or her life, his or her invincibility and/or immunity to the disease, and/or persons with the disease.
There were many underlying messages and symbolisms in the play, some of which being that love can’t shelter you from a disease or make a partner stay at home.
The show displays that life is a never-ending circle, with the use of the idea of a train and the circle of life that there are always people coming in and going out.
Overall the play was a great experience that makes one think and evokes emotions which was the original intent of the genre of theatre as established by Aristotle in “Poetics”. All of these messages centering around an issue that really ‘hits home’.