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For Miami’s Denise Lee, the play is the thing

Edison High grad writes scripts that give the “straight raw deal”

D. Kevin McNeir | 8/8/2013, 3:21 p.m.
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith in order to make one’s dreams come true. And that’s exactly what Miami ...

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith in order to make one’s dreams come true. And that’s exactly what Miami native Denise Lee, 42, did after hearing stories continue to swirl in her head. Lee was working as a volunteer for the State of Florida, distributing condoms and talking to people in her community about the importance of having safe sex when she hit upon an idea for a play. And while she didn’t have the funds she needed, Lee didn’t let that deter her from her goal. The result was a play entitled, “Dying to Live,” that has already been performed at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and several times in Atlanta, GA to favorable responses.

Her message is simple: don’t compromise your health, always wear a condom and be as educated as possible on how the HIV/AIDS virus is transmitted.

“The play really focuses on the consequences of infidelity and about the cost that women often bear when they marry for money instead of marrying for love,” Lee said. “Sometimes when you are dying to have a good time, you take risks and therefore invite a lifestyle and spirits into your world that have detrimental effects.”

Lee found many of her cast members while taking public transportation, saying, “they fit the characters that were in my mind, so I invited them to try out for the play.”

She adds that several of the cast members are HIV-positive and were able to help her fine tune her script so that it reflected the reality of those living with the virus.

Lee attended Edison Senior High and then went on the Florida Memorial University where she received a degree in criminal justice. She says she’s already written a total of 21 scripts and has also directed and coordinated several talent shows in the Miami area. Her ultimate goal is to get her plays on the silver screen as films. Right now she’s negotiating with a few local hospitals and pharmaceutical companies who are interested in converting her play into a short film.

“It’s been a sacrifice because at one point I stopped working my nine-to-five job so that I could pursue the arts on a full time basis,” she said. “But I don’t have any regrets. I’m a hell and brimstone writer that deals with real life endings — I give folks the straight up raw deal.”

Lee hopes to bring a positive change to her community through her plays and given the diversity of her audiences and the positive comments she continues to receive, she knows she’s on the right track.”

“You have to be patient in this industry but I’m confident that I’m going to make it,” she said. “I respect God’s time but sometimes . . . I don’t like His time.”

For more about Lee, go to www.aleapoffaith.com.