The Tennessee Tribune on The Calling is in the Body: New Play Tells the Story of TSU Student Deidre Williams

Nashville, TENN. (TN Tribune) – Actors Bridge Ensemble (ABE) is pleased to present the World Premiere production of THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY by Cynthia C. Harris. Ms. Harris, who also directs the play, is a graduate of Hume Fogg High School, Florida A&M University (B.S.) and Tennessee State University (MPH).

STORY: THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY is a choreopoem telling the story of Deidre Williams, a Nashville hero and early HIV advocate in the 1990s as the pandemic was growing internationally and changing culture and language around sex, safety, and intimacy. It is the story of her memory and legend as told by a young high school student who searched for closure after losing contact, a nurse practitioner and HIV/AIDS care trailblazer who befriended her, and a woman in recovery who commits to her cause and champions her work.

Deidre was studying pre-med when she contracted HIV from her fiancé. She became one of the first Black women in Nashville to publicly tell her story in an effort to save the lives of countless others.

“One of the things that is really interesting to me about the piece is how differently we respond as a culture and community to HIV now as opposed to when I was younger. So many people don’t have that experience of it being the epidemic and pandemic that it was. Now it’s a chronic disease. That looks very different for humans relating to each other, for physicians and people caring for folks. This is going to take people back in time to the realities of those moments,” reflected playwright and director Cynthia C. Harris.

“While this piece is very much about lifting a southern hero for us, in her work to educate people, we’re also making a statement about bodies in general. No matter what happens to the body- whether that is some form of illness or accident or assault that changes how we relate to our bodies, changes how our bodies function, changes how they look- that can radically change us and our sense of self. We still get to acknowledge that these bodies deserve goodness. These bodies, our bodies deserve joy, these bodies deserve pleasure. No matter what the experience of the body is,” Cynthia continued.

Cynthia Harris is available for media interviews beginning July 14, 2022.

Original Post: https://tntribune.com/new-play-tells-the-story-of-tsu-student-deidre-williams/

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