Black women represent the highest rate of infection of HIV/AIDS in both the United States and Africa. This statistic, which applies in two cultures distanced by space, tradition, resources, and values, is a common thread which is the theme for the off-Broadway hit, "In the Continuum."
In the Continuum tells the stories of two women having parallel experiences in vastly different environs: Zimbabwe and South Central LA. Actress and playwright Danai Gurira delivers a knockout performance as she relays the story of Abigail, a Zimbabwean wife and mother who is also a professional news anchor who learns that she is pregnant and has HIV. Actress and fellow playwright Nikkole Salter brings us into the world of Nia, a troubled young woman living off the system in the ghettos of LA, who gets both a baby and AIDS from her basketball-star boyfriend.
Both actresses take on many roles as they portray the experiences of receiving the news and searching for answers, guidance, and support. Both women face the possibility of becoming statistics and losing any and everything they dreamed of. When Abigail goes to a "traditional healer, " she is told that she should not cry, she is not the only one facing this disease. "Go outside and count 1, 2, 3- she has it. Another 1,2,3 – he has it. There are many people living with this."
These pieces were originally developed as separate works, but the combination of the two – and excellent direction by Robert O'Hara which helps us see the parallels in the stories – creates a synergy that affects the audience long after the house lights go up. Despite the heavy theme of the play, there are moments of lightness and humor, making these characters all the more realistic. "In the Continuum" is a must-see.
"In the Continuum" plays at the Perry Street Theatre through February 18th. www.smarttix.com for tickets.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.