Reviewed by Paula Citron
October 28, 2011
The Normal Heart
Written by Larry Kramer
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Performed by Jonathan Wilson, John Bourgeois, Paul Essiembre, Ryan Kelly, Sarah Orenstein, Jonathan Seinen, Mark Crawford and Mark McGrinder
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Oct. 14 to Nov. 6, 2011
Under artistic director Joel Greenberg, Studio 180 has built a solid reputation for mounting plays that speak for social justice.
Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart was first produced in 1985. It is about AIDS in 1980s New York. It is also very autobiographical.
Kramer, in the persona character of Ned Weeks, was a gay activist. Between 1981 and 1983, he fought to get the politicians, health departments, the press, and most specifically, the gay community itself, to acknowledge that there was an epidemic that was killing young men.
As for the play’s relevance for today, Kramer has written a very serious note to audience members that should be read by all.
The play still packs a wallop. Greenberg’s cast is very talented, and his theatre-in-the-round makes for searing intimacy.
In 1985, the powerful play exposed the tragedy of inaction. In 2011, it is a cautionary tale.
The Normal Heart continues at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre until Nov. 6.