Special to the Daily World

A standing ovation greeted the cast and playwright of “Sisters”, a play about how three women dealt with cancer and its affect on their families and caretakers. The emotional play was held in the sanctuary of Big Bethel AME Church recently.

Inspired by the playwright’s own mother and her two sisters, “Sisters” comes to life with real people who deal with the illness in different ways. The disease becomes another family member, and “it is fear that haunts us,” Bradley L. Candie, the director and playwright said. The reality that cancer is rampant in families today, he added “makes you look at how to cope with this illness.”

The disease doesn’t care about age, race, gender, or class, and the play will educate the audience about this malady, he continued. Candie is a graduate of both Morehouse College and Howard University.

“It is fear that causes people to react the way they do. I wanted people to know how to cope,” said Candie.. He challenges the audience to become “educated about cancer and (if necessary) start your own support system.”

Some members of the cast are natives of Atlanta and make their debut in this play. The playwright’s mother, Gertrude Cox, and her two sisters, Shirley Weldon and Sarah Walker, are real people who have breast cancer and who are all afraid. Candie admits he was angry at God, at first, for letting his loved ones get breast cancer and served as both caretaker and counselor. He writes from the heart and his experiences are real, as are the trials, tribulations and triumphs or his loved ones.

“Throughout my life, I have watched cancer unapologetically take the lives of many loved ones. If you have not experienced the destructive path of the disease, consider yourself blessed, ” writes Candie. “Cancer not only affects those who have it, but extends to all of those around the infected person’s life – including caretakers, friends, and family members.”

Cast members are Atlanta own Kathye J. Gary, who plays Shirley; Victoria Williams (Sarah), Yolonda R. Williams (Gertrude), six year old Karli Williams (Pookie); James C. Williams (Rev. Jones); Tony Thomas (Cr. Cruz); Brittany Steele (Wendy), and Jamal Rasheed (Ceorge).

The traditional Christmas classic “Heaven Bound” comes to Big Bethel AME, Nov. 9-10, at 8 p.m. Rev. Dr. Gregory Eason Sr. is senior pastor at Big Bethel.

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