On Friday, December 11, 2015, at 7 p.m., the Illuminating Good Health Coalition, in partnership with a host of local Ryan White and community-based agencies, will be staging the mystical drama RAILINGS!, at the ODU University Theater. This compelling, mixed-media drama is being staged in observance of “World AIDS Day 2015.” Admission is free.
Set between Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, VA, RAILINGS! tells the story of “Kamal Cole,” a 16-year-old, HIV-positive runaway with a horrific secret, one that haunts him anew with the recent revelation of his health status. Engulfed in a tempest of disillusionment and desperation, he embarks on an adventurous escape from reality, eventually finding himself taking a nocturnal train ride with the spirit of “Obadiah Walker,” a late 19th Century cowboy outlaw.
Written and directed by Terrance Afer-Anderson, RAILINGS! is an inventive production that examines serious subject matter. It has been celebrated by adult and youth audiences alike as an inspired story with topical themes, painting an insightful portrait of HIV and AIDS, especially its impact on the African-American community. According to The Virginian-Pilot (Jan. 16, 1998), “Railings! stands out as a work of real value.”
Anthony K. Bragg and Ahmad Rasean portray protagonists Kamal and Obadiah. Kamal’s sojourn begins on the Washington, D.C. Metro subway. While later standing on the King Street, Alexandria, VA subway platform, he spies a freight train sitting on parallel tracks. Eventually, he climbs into a boxcar and falls asleep, later awakening to the train moving through the night and his encounter with the loquacious, cantankerous “Obadiah.”
The cast also features Sarita Scott and Jeffrey Phillips as Kamal’s parents “Sylvia,” a D.C. Public Schools teacher, and “Willem,” a successful Washington attorney; Broadway veteran (Mamma Mia!) Angela Ara Brown, who portrays Cole neighbor “India Bailey,” who has her own health challenges; Tony Britt, as Kamal’s uncle “Wynton Cole,” a popular, no-nonsense D.C. Metro Police officer; and B. Adrian Shorter and Josh Kern, as D.C. police officers “Sergeant Isaacs” and “Private Andersen,” respectively.
Numerous community-based agencies are assisting in mounting this special Illuminating Good Health Coalition production of RAILINGS! These include the Norfolk Department of Public Health, Wealthy Place Ministries, the Eastern Virginia Medical School AIDS Resource Center, ACCESS AIDS Care, Urban League of Hampton Roads, Norfolk Community Health Center, Hampton Roads Community Health Center, Garden of Hope Development Corporation, International Black Women’s Congress, Southeastern Virginia Health System, Minority AIDS Support Services, Greater Norfolk Medical Society, and Norfolk State University Project Choice.
The ODU University Theater is located at 4601 Hampton Boulevard. This is a free event, but tickets are required. For further information, call (757) 683-8836.