New Play Focuses on Diabetes Diagnosis
Playwright Garrett Davis’s newest production, Mama’s Girls 2: Sugar Ain’t Sweet, opens with Baby Girl, the adult protagonist, rushing to the hospital with sudden blurred vision. Her startling diagnosis: type 2 diabetes.
And so begins Baby Girl’s poignant journey as she navigates life with finger sticks, new eating patterns, and well-meaning but uninformed relatives who do things like rearrange her kitchen and bake her half a cake because “it only has half the sugar.” Baby Girl’s eventual acceptance of her diabetes and understanding that she can live a good life is an empowering and inspiring message for the audience.
Davis consulted with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to produce the dramedy, show how diabetes disproportionally affects African Americans, and reveal how this diagnosis transforms families. He also worked with the Association to arrange for sponsored events around each play so audiences can learn more about diabetes management.
For instance, ADA representatives are on hand at the theater to answer questions, provide educational material, and host cooking demonstrations. Also on site: local government officials, hospital personnel, and religious groups, all of whom discuss how people with diabetes can seek help and support in their communities.
For Davis, channeling his passion to raise consciousness through the arts is nothing new. He wrote the original Mama’s Girls in partnership with AARP, an organization that advocates for older adults, to raise awareness around the issues of caregiving. “If you can entertain [people],” he says, “you can educate them.”
Rashawn Moore, 28, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015, saw Sugar Ain’t Sweet last year when it toured in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. “When [Baby Girl] found out, it was the same way I found out. She was thinking, ‘Oh my God—my family! What am I going to do?’ ” Moore says. “It was so relatable. This was real life.”
The ADA presence after the show was an added bonus. “I thought that was great,” says Moore. “I got to see the things I still can eat [and] the things I still can do.”
Mama’s Girls 2: Sugar Ain’t Sweet is scheduled to play around the United States in 2017. Go to mamasgirls.net for more information.