Binge Fringe Festival of Free Theatre presents: “tHis Is Very IMPORTANT,” a one-woman show at Santa Monica Playhouse.
Written and performed by Rahvaunia
Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
The AIDS epidemic has been somewhat off our radar recently. Like anything that gets less coverage, particularly in health care, what we don’t pay attention to does not go away.
The new cases are up, especially in women. In the US, a woman is diagnosed every 35 minutes, which is staggering when you consider that it’s been 30 plus years since HIV/AIDS first became an epidemic.
This play is a clever and moving commentary on not only the rising statistics but also the wide variety of victims. Rahvaunia has taken three stories from three very different women and dramatized them for the stage. She has deftly and with vivid grace brought these stories to her audience to educate, illuminate and define what HIV means in so many peoples lives.
A one women show with three different female voices about a subject as serious as this could be stodgy, it could be overly serious or hard to watch. But “tHis Is Very IMPORTANT” is none of those things. The stories are insightfully chosen, an ER Nurse infected by a patient, a social influencer in denial and an “every woman” hoping to find love inspite of it all. These stories are curated by a narrator full of the lightness of her being and guiding us through the darkness of what is probable to the light of possibility.
No one likes to be preached to. None of us are eager to be faced with the frailty of illness or the sureness of death, but this artful play, so bold in its subject and so quiet in its conclusions, makes us look it in the eye, which is where we need to be.
Rahvaunia writes these women well, beautifully in fact. She performs them even better, drawing from them the steel she needs to talk about HIV in terms that we have to face. That is it’s present in all our lives and affecting us still, killing us still. HIV is nothing if it is not a grim grip on our future and not just here, but worldwide, leaving orphans ill-equipped to face a future in a world still turning away from a terrible plague on all our houses.
I hope you get the chance to see Rahvaunia and her wonderful and “important” play. She will captivate you with her talent for storytelling and memorable, real characters as she imparts vital information anecdotally without wagging one solitary finger. I highly recommend it. Bravo!