“Men In Me” an eye-opening performance

Sep. 15, 2013  by Jamica Ashley
The Herald-Sun

The laughs, hand-clapping and standing ovation let Anita Woodley know that her show “The Men In Me” was a success.

In the main branch of the Durham County Public Library, Woodley performed her one-woman show, which highlights the men in her life, including her own brothers to father figures.

“Because of all of them, I’ve become the person that I am,” Woodley said to the crowd following her performance.

Woodley is an award-winning actress, journalist and producer. She is a women’s health ambassador for, state certified HIV counselor, improvisational performer and mixed-media visual artist.

Woodley distinctly portrayed each character and demonstrated how they left a mark on her, like the “deactivated pimp” her mother once dated, who kept her from being tricked into prostitution, and her son, who questioned why a man would stand on the corner selling drugs.

Woodley uses her personal experiences with the men in her life to touch on a wide range of subjects that dominate the black community including the lack of positive, black male role models, the recidivism of many black men and the role of group identity in the formation of individual identity.

Marilyn Clements said that she thought the show was wonderful and was pleased with her first time seeing Woodley perform.

“She really touched on a lot of the black community,” Clements said. “It gave me sort of a re-education, to look at the situation that black men are facing today in a different light.”

Woodley explained to the crowd that part of the purpose of the show is to help people like those portrayed in her performance see themselves from the outside. She hopes that they’ll change or that someone will know someone like the men she portrayed and better understand what they go through.

Also in the audience was Jordan High School junior Ashlee Hopkins, who enjoyed the authenticity of the performance.

“It was good,” she said. “I like how it was real. It has experiences that she had and she’s shared them with other people.”