Written in the 1980s, at a time when the AIDS epidemic was beginning to rage, “The Normal Heart” by Larry Kramer is a historically-based play that tells personal and real stories of lives affected by AIDS. The Santa Fe Playhouse tackles this intense drama from June 8 through 25, under direction from Duchess Dale.
“I see the chance to direct this play as magical,” says Dale, who was involved in theater in the Los Angeles area for 25 years as an actor, director and producer. “There’s a certain complacency about AIDS right now in this current political time. One of the things that theater can do is bring new awareness to people and provide inspiration for change.”
“The Normal Heart” follows Ned Weeks, a gay writer, activist and founder of an HIV advocacy group. Instead of taking a calm approach to sharing his message, he prefers loud public confrontations. Weeks finds himself in conflict with his advocacy group’s newly-elected president, who has a cautious, polite and deferential approach to dealing with people.
“In a way, this is a period piece, and yet it’s definitely relevant for today,” Dale adds. “The play is personal for the cast. One of the actors lost a partner to AIDS.”
On July 7 at 7 p.m., the Santa Fe Playhouse hosts a panel discussion about AIDS that includes Dr. Joel Gallant of Southwest CARE Center, who had met Kramer in New York in the 1980s, and a person with AIDS (PWA).