“She was treated like she didn’t belong in this world anymore,” said “Shannon” played by Jeralyn Williams during the Serial Killers last weekend. Shannon was referring to a cousin who contracted HIV and experienced alienation after her status was made public.
The show kicked off the theatrical semester as an action packed venture into an underworld of collegiate relationships, naiveté, cycles of abuse and HIV.
It was written and directed by Destyne Miller, a December graduate of the Grambling State University theater department.
The story revolved around a group of college students, but zeroed in on the freshman character, “Erin” played by Lauryn DuValle, and her loss of “innocence” by way of rape.
As a result, she contracted HIV from “Jonathan,” played by Reginald Robinson.
Jonathan contracted the virus from homosexual childhood rape.
The show ran for nearly an hour and a half and showcased spoken word from Jonathan Jackson and Jeralyn Williams.
The cast managed the stage, by repositioning their own furniture between acts.
Blythe Dennis and Cedric Clarke sang music from Musiq Soulchild, Tracy Chapman and Brotha’ Erthe to flow into scene changes.
Deron “Brotha Erthe” James was the featured guitarist.
The fast paced scenarios prompted viewers to gasp, clap, whoop and caution Erin against trusting a stereotypical predator.
“The play was awesome,” said social work senior Monica Ben of Ville Platte. “I wish it was mandatory for freshmen.”
Miller’s cheeks radiated as she shared excitement about her play.
“I loved the audience’s reaction,” said Miller. “It was more than I expected.”
The crowd understood the importance of the play’s message, Miller said.
She attributed the show’s success to a talented cast, who translated practice into action when the curtains were drawn.
“It was the best play I have ever seen,” said sociology senior Quantreus Hayes of West Monroe.
“The cast showed up and showed out,” said Miller.
“It did more than expose the disease,” Hayes said. “Serial Killers exposed the reasons some people get the disease.