Daily News of Los Angeles (01.30.12) - Friday, February 03,
For 25 years, Kaiser Permanente's theater troupe has raised
the curtain on health concerns such as STDs and sexual health
for high school audiences. "We're one of the largest
theatrical organizations that do this public-based, public
health theater," said Gerry Farrell, director of Kaiser
Permanente Southern California's Educational Theater. "This is
such a better way of presenting information about health,
especially for this age group."
For example, the play "What Goes Around" deals with STDs,
including HIV. In the production, actors - who also are health
educators - play the roles of boyfriend and girlfriend Eli and
Alicia. Eli cheats on Alicia with an old girlfriend, thinking
he is protected from disease because the girl is on birth
Eli soon discovers his ex has left him a "downtown souvenir" -
in this case, chlamydia and human papillomavirus infection.
Much of the rest of the play focuses on how Eli plans to
explain this to Alicia.
Following a recent performance for continuing students at John
Wooden High School in Reseda, the actors led a question-and-
answer session. These days, youths' wired worlds lead to a
host of questions, from different types of sexual behavior to
alleged household cures for STDs.
"They have some of the same questions I had when I was in high
school," said performer Ray Auxais. "The only difference now
is technology. We're constantly having to evolve the show."