“VI Degrees” spreads awareness about HIV/AIDS and the African-American community.
Unprotected sex, adultery and prostitution are only a few of the many plot twists seen in the play “VI Degrees.” Directed by Temple alumnus and Philadelphia native Donja Love, this performance highlights the African-American community’s struggle with HIV/AIDS.
In the past, Love has written and directed “The Nigga Files,” the mini-series, “System/Report,” a complication of poems and short stories and “How to Kill a Child and a Demon.” Kash Goins, the writer of “VI Degrees” and founder of Philadelphia GoKash Productions, gave Love two scripts for him to direct.
“I approached the idea with caution [because] I understood that he has never had anyone besides himself direct his work,” Love said. “The mere thought of him wanting me to come on board as a director was nothing less than an honor.”
Love said he was inspired to direct the play because the African-American and homosexual communities are very significant to him.
“Kash did an honest job of diving into the mind of individuals dealing with these issues,” Love said. “I felt the obligation to do mine by giving these characters the outlet to tell their stories, fearlessly, with the expectation of not just healing themselves but others in the process.”
This production focuses on the idea that there are only six degrees of separation between any two individuals on the planet. In the midst of issues surrounding communities, “VI Degrees” focuses HIV/AIDS in the GLBT and African-American communities, focusing on various sexual relationships within one black community.
“We often become so fearful of ourselves and who we really are that we display a contorted image of ourselves while our true self deteriorates,” Love said.
Another prominent thread connecting the play is the theme of yearning for love. Much of the characters desire love so much that it ultimately leads them to destroying their lives.
“If more of us in the African-American community become more educated on the [HIV/AIDS] issue, we will end up saving our life and many others because of it,” Love said.
Priscilla Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.