Chapel Hill: Community

Woodley’s latest explores black men’s health challenges

Anita Woodley will look decidedly different when she returns to the stage Tuesday, Oct. 28, for a show about black men’s health care.
Anita Woodley will look decidedly different when she returns to the stage Tuesday, Oct. 28, for a show about black men’s health care. FILE N&O PHOTO

In her new show, dramatist Anita Woodley portrays several black men from Durham who share their experiences with health care in The City of Medicine.

Woodley uses real survey responses from more than 300 Durhamites as the foundation for her characters. The survey, conducted by an international research nonprofit, offers an up close and personal look at the causes and effects of health disparities for black men.

“Bucking the Medical & Mental Bull” debuts at Durham’s Carolina Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28. It’s free to the public.

Woodley is a Triangle-based playwright best known for “Mama Juggs” and “The Men In Me” — one-woman productions based on her early life in the Oakland projects. Her shows feature improvisation and multiple character changes, along with song and dance. They boldly address social issues while always prizing entertainment.

“When she’s at her peak, it feels like she’s channeling these characters, not performing them,” said theater critic Byron Woods of The Independent Weekly.

Woodley’s a former radio producer for NPR (WUNC) and has recently partnered with nonprofits such as Grocers on Wheels and Raindownus.org to fight food insecurity and health disparities in North Carolina’s underserved communities.

Representatives from local health organizations will be available before and after the show to discuss their programs and resources. This production is supported through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Pilot Project Program Award. PCORI was established through the Patient Protection Act.

To reserve free tickets, visit: bit.ly/1tG1XDh

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