CSM Theatre’s “Before It Hits Home” Tackles Effects of AIDs


Charles County Health Department Joins Post-Performance Conversation

The College of Southern Maryland Theatre Company tackles one of society’s largest epidemics, still looming large after more than 30 years: AIDS. The production, “Before It Hits Home,” by Cheryl West, takes a direct and honest look at the tragic effects AIDS has on a hard-working, middle-class African American family.

Set in the early 1990s as the HIV/AIDS epidemic hits full force, the play follows Wendal, a bi-sexual jazz and Blues musician who must confront his lovers, his family and most of all himself as he learns of his diagnosis.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1.2 million people ages 13 years and older are living with HIV infection in the United States, including 156,300 or 12.8 percent who are unaware they are infected. Over the past decade, the number of people living with HIV has increased, while the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. While treatments, knowledge and international protocols have reduced the severity and number of cases, AIDS continues today to be one of the most prevalent and hidden diseases in the African American community.

As in the tradition of CSM’s Cause Theatre, this Main Stage production has partnered with the Charles County Health Department to provide information and confidential outreach at each performance. At the conclusion of each performance, a question-and-answer session will be offered with the cast and health department staff.

Featured in this cast are Philip Holland, Gershawn Mason, Tyriek Bailey, Shemika Demouchet Berry, Naomi Cary and Devin King of Waldorf; Sonya Hemphill of Accokeek; Maecy Richardson of Bryans Road and Emma Ansell of La Plata.

“Before It Hits Home” will be performed beginning at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18 and 25; at 8 p.m. Feb. 19, 20, 26; and at 2 p.m., Feb. 27. Due to subject matter and language, this play is not suitable for patrons under 18. Tickets are $15 adults, $12 military/seniors/youth. For tickets and information contact the Box Office at 301-934-7828 or visit www.csmd.edu/Arts. For information about services at the Charles County Health Department, visit http://www.charlescountyhealth.org/health-services/aidshiv/.



CSM Main Stage Theatre: “Before it Hits Home.” 7:30 p.m., Feb. 18, 25; 8 p.m., Feb. 19, 20, 26; 2 p.m., Feb. 27. College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus, Fine Arts (FA) Building, Theatre, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata. This is the story of Wendal, an unsuccessful musician diagnosed with the AIDS virus coming to terms with telling his pregnant fiancée and male lover of his health crisis. He seeks comfort and help by returning home to his parents but faces hate and accusations of immorality from his mother while his father overcomes his façade of masculine pride to care for Wendal. Due to subject matter and language, this play is not suitable for patrons under 18. $15 adults, $12 military/seniors/youth.  bxoffc@csmd.edu, 301-934-7828, www.csmd.edu/Arts.