Title: one in two. By Donja R. Love/ Directed by Jordan Ratlliff
Monday, Feb. 20 - 7:30 p.m. Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
One in two Black men in America who have sex with other men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
Playwright Donja R. Love brings this statistic to life through the story of one character — a young man named Donté who is diagnosed with HIV. The play follows Donté through his experiences in a bar, the bedroom, a waiting room, a medical office, and in his childhood. one in two was originally produced by New York City's The New Group in December 2019 and was a New York Times "Critics Pick." The Times said of it, "Defiantly life-embracing, it's a call to action over what Love describes as "a hidden state of emergency" in his own community." Love has become recognized as one of America's leading young African American playwrights and has in the past four years had four plays produced off-Broadway — by the prestigious non-profit companies Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theatre Company, The New Group, and MCC Theatre.
one in two (lower case is intentional) will be directed by Jordan Ratlliff, a 2021 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has already been highly active in the Chicago theater community. Ratliff has directed plays in the Chicago Dramatists Network 10 Minute Play Festival, in the 2022 Lime Arts Fringe Festival and a virtual reading of his own play Fugitives in America for PrideArts. He has also served as Assistant Director for PrideArts' The Things I Never Could Tell Steven. Ratliff's cast will include Jonathan Samuel Allsop as "Person in the Middle," Anania Williams (they/them) as "Person on the Left," and J. Xavier as "Person on the Right." Richard Allen will understudy all roles. To underscore the randomness of the fact that "one in two" Black men who have sex with other men will eventually be diagnosed with HIV, the audience will choose at each performance which of the three cast members will play Donté, the young man who is diagnosed with HIV. The remaining two actors will play all other parts. Richard Allen is the understudy for all roles.
Tickets are $35 for regular performances, $25 for previews. Seniors and students receive a $5 discount off regular performance prices.
Curtain times Thursdays—Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, plus Wednesday, March 15 @ 7:30 pm
Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-857-0222
one in two is an autobiographical play named for the shocking statistic that one in two Black men in America who have sex with other men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. Playwright Donja R. Love brings this statistic to life through the story of one character — a young man named Donté who is diagnosed with HIV. The play follows Donté through his experiences in a bar, the bedroom, a waiting room, a medical office, and in his childhood. one in two was originally produced by New York City's The New Group in December 2019 and was a New York Times "Critics Pick."
Jordan Ratliff (Director) is a director, playwright, choreographer, graphic designer, and much more. His directing credits include The Former Kings of Clutch City in the 2022 Lime Arts Fringe Festival — a national virtual festival of dramatic works by young artists; a virtual reading of his own play Fugitives in America for PrideArts in September 2021 and directing two plays in the Chicago Dramatists Network 10 Minute Play Festival.
He served an assistant director for PrideArts' The Things I Never Could Tell and was a Casting/Producing intern at Victory Gardens Theatre. Ratliff says, "As a theatre artist, I work to deconstruct, analyze, and criticize social norms, structures, and issues that have led to systematic inequalities both within and outside marginalized communities. My career goals center around advocacy for LGBTQ and racial equality." Ratliff is a 2021 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a major in Theatre Studies and a minor in LGBT/Q Studies.
Donja R. Love (Playwright) is an Afro-Queer playwright, poet, and filmmaker. He's the 2017 Princess Grace Fellow, a Eugene O' Neill 2017 National Playwrights Conference finalist, The Lark's 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow, The Playwrights Realm's 2016-2017 Writing Fellow, and the 2016 Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Award recipient. His work has been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Rising Circle Theatre, The Lark, and The Playwrights Realm.
He's the co-founder of The Each-Other Project, an organization that helps build community and provide visibility, through art and advocacy, for LGBTQ People of Color. Select stage-plays include: The Love* Plays (Sugar In Our Wounds, Fireflies, In the Middle), and Soft; or the Dead N—— Poem (New Dramatists Resident Playwright Semi-finalist). Select film work: Modern Day Black Gay (web series), and Once a Star (short film). Love has additionally been recognized in POZ Magazine's POZ 100 List for 2021, winning the 2021 Terrence McNally Award for What Will Happen to All That Beauty?, winning POZ Magazine's 2020 Best New Play Award for one in two, and receiving the 2018 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for Sugar in our Wounds.
Jonathan Samuel Allsop (Person in the Middle) is a Chicago based actor/singer and is extremely excited to be in his first PrideArts production. Some theatre credits include: The Crucible, Cabaret (Parallel 45 Theatre), White (Definition Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival), and Hit The Wall (Northern Illinois University). Jonathan recently received an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University and is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Anania Williams (Person on the Left; they/them) recently moved to Chicago post-grad from Emerson College. Anania has been in productions such as Next to Normal (Henry), Into the Woods (Narrator, Mysterious Man), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Fredric), and Spring Awakening (Hanschen). You could see them as a featured extra in Netflix's Don't Look Up or on social media under @Anania00 where they have a collective following of over 2.5M supporters. They want to send a thank you to their siblings for being a rock— Angela, Annastasia, Taryn, Aaron, and Gabriel.
J. Xavier (Person on the Right) is thrilled to work at PrideArts. Chicago credits include M3, Ride or Die (MPAACT), A Midsummer's Night Dream (Old Globe Theatre, London), Sister Act (Drama Group). He received his BFA in Acting from Millikin University and a master's from Loyola.
PrideArts tells queer stories on a variety of platforms, including both live and virtual performances. Since its founding in 2010, PrideArts has had several chapters, including operating as an itinerant theater for their first six seasons, and as the developer and primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center from 2016-21.
The company produces full seasons of plays and musicals, as well as events including cabaret, film, and more. The company has earned 39 Jeff Awards and nominations, and six nominations in the most recent (2019) ALTA Awards from the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Programming has reflected the diversity of queer communities by including work made by and illuminating the experiences of women, gay men, transgender people, and BIPOC.
PrideArts is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago's City Arts Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, The AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation.
PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Lakeview East, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.
For more information and to donate, visit www.pridearts.org or call 1.773 857 0222.