“THE NORMAL HEART” is the 2011 Tony Award Winner for Best Revival of a Play about the early rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. During this period, a deadly epidemic was decimating North America’s gay population, killing people in the thousands, devastating an entire generation and changing the way we think about sex forever.
Written by playwright and activist Larry Kramer, “The Normal Heart” is set to open on July 3 (Fri) 8pm with succeeding limited performances on July 4 (Sat) 3pm & 8pm; July 5 (Sun) 3pm & 8pm at the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City.
Topnotch theater actor Bart Guingona, who also directs the play and shall essay the role of the very intense activist Ned Weeks who is both difficult and charming.
“The Normal Heart” shows with stage actors and tv personalities like Richard Cunanan, Topper Fabregas, TJ Trinidad, Roselyn Perez, Red Concepcion, Nor Domingo and Jef Flores who will take on multiple roles such as Craig, Grady and the Hiram Keebler City Hall representative.
Topper Fabregas and Bart Guingona in The Normal Heart
During the early 1980s, Jewish-American writer and gay activist Ned Weeks struggles to pull together an organization focused on raising awareness about the fact that an unidentified disease is killing off an oddly specific group of people: gay men largely in New York City. Dr. Emma Brookner, a physician and survivor of polio, as a consequence of which she is using a wheelchair, is the most experienced with this strange new outbreak and bemoans the lack of medical knowledge on the illness, encouraging the abstinence of gay men for their own safety, since it is unknown yet even how the disease is spread. Ned, a patient and friend of Brookner, calls upon his lawyer brother, Ben, to help fund his crisis organization; however, Ben’s attitude toward his brother is to give merely passive support, ultimately exposing his apparent homophobia. For the first time in his life, meanwhile, Ned falls in love, beginning a relationship with New York Times writer Felix Turner.
The increasing death toll raises the unknown illness, now believed to be caused by a virus, to the status of an epidemic, though the press remains largely silent on the issue. A sense of urgency guides Ned who realizes that Ben is more interested in buying a two-million-dollar house than in backing Ned’s activism. Ned explosively breaks off ties to his brother until Ben can fully accept Ned and his homosexuality. Ned next looks to Mayor Ed Koch’s administration for aid in financing research about the epidemic that is quickly killing off hundreds of gay men, including some of Ned’s personal friends.
Ned’s organization elects as its president Bruce Niles, who is described as the “good cop” of gay activism, in comparison to Ned; while Bruce is cautious, polite, deferential, and closeted, Ned is vociferous, confrontational, incendiary, and supportive only of direct action. Tensions between the two are clear, though they must work together toward the promotion of their organization. Felix, meanwhile, reveals to Ned his belief that he is infected with the mysterious virus.
Although he continues to try to strengthen interactions with the mayor, Ned ruins his chances when his relentless and fiery personality appalls a representative sent by the mayor. Dr. Brookner gradually takes the role of activist herself, noting the epidemic’s appearance in other countries around the world and even among heterosexual couples.
Although she desperately asks for government funding for further research, she is denied; the rejection releases in her a passionate tirade against those who allow the persistence of an epidemic that is taking the lives of the homosexual individuals already marginalized by the government. In the meantime, Ned’s conflict with Bruce comes to a head, and their organization’s board of directors ultimately expels Ned from the group, believing his unstable vehemence to be a threat to the group’s attempts at more calm-mannered diplomacy.
As Felix’s condition worsens, he visits Ben Weeks in order to make his will and with a hope of reconciling Ben with his brother. Felix soon dies and Ned blames himself for Felix’s death, lamenting that he did not fight hard enough to have his voice heard. The mortality rate from HIV/AIDS is shown to continue increasing as the stage fades to black.
Ticket prices for “THE NORMAL HEART” are:
Php1,500 orchestra center
Php1,000 orchestra side & loge
For ticket inquiries, please call Call 2150788 or 09175378313. Or call TicketWorld at 8919999.
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