America is still coping with the devastation of the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.*
Out of the 1980’s and 1990’s came a wellspring of performance art as people sought not only to make meaning of their own experiences but to share them with the world. While this is undoubtedly true for all art, it is especially the case for HIV/AIDS inspired art. Because when a disease is [still] as stigmatized as HIV/AIDS, permission to mourn its destruction or simply laugh at its absurdity is not a clear given. It’s something that had and has to be fought for.
Because if you’re someone grappling with how your life has been impacted by HIV/AIDS, even your attempts to cope can become stigmatized.
So almost out of necessity, playwrights created performances that helped provide the approval of and language for those who knew the feelings of experiences shaped by HIV/AIDS but not the words. For this reason, we’re excited to be working with Out Front Theatre Company to bring Red Ribbon Readings, a two-day presentation on April 6 and 7 of three powerful plays that changed hearts and minds in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Red Ribbon Readings
1. The Normal Heart
by Larry Kramer // Friday, April 6, 8PM
This show focuses on the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Ned prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal. Get Tickets →
2. Safe Sex
by Harvey Fierstein // Saturday, April 7, 2PM
These three one-act plays are unconnected except in their exploration of the psychological ravages of the disease. Although none of the characters is actually ill, all have suffered radical changes in their relationships and view of the world; all find that the very concept of “safe sex” inhibits their ability to connect, not just sexually but also emotionally, with others. In dealing with a topical subject, Fierstein movingly depicts the age-old difficulties and joys of loving. Get Tickets →
by Paul Rudnick // Saturday, April 7, 8PM
Jeffrey, a gay actor/waiter, has sworn off sex after too many bouts with his partners about what is “safe” and what is not. In gay New York, though, sex is not something you can avoid. Whether catering a ditzy socialite’s “Hoe-down for AIDS” or cruising at a funeral; at the gym or in the back rooms of an anonymous sex club; at the annual Gay Pride Parade, or in the libidinous hands of a father-confessor, Jeffrey finds the pursuit of love and just plain old physical gratification to be the number-one preoccupation of his times—and the source of plenty of hilarity. Get Tickets →
Join us for a two-day exploration of the impact of HIV in every aspect of human existence, including love, fear, stigma, safe-sex, and grief. Add your voice to the conversation during a community panel Saturday afternoon following Harvey Fierstein’s Safe Sex.
Attend Red Ribbon Readings
*To be clear: the epidemic never left; it just evolved. For example.