THE NORMAL HEART
L-R: Charlie Wingerter and Craig A. Bond
Vintage Theatre’s production of Larry Kramer’s play about the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s is heartbreaking.
Playwright Kramer writes himself into this harrowing and mostly autobiographical play in the character of Ned Weeks, a Jewish American writer who attempted to create an organization to communicate awareness of an unidentified disease that was killing gay men.
Charlie Wingerter’s fiery portrayal of Ned is a tour de force. Ned’s fierce, confrontational activism is given a raging reality that reaches its zenith in his fight against city hall. He struggled to reach people in authority who could assist in battling the disease when nobody even knew what caused it. His one-man war designed to create awareness and engender allies within the administrations of Ronald Reagan and Mayor Koch was met with resistance on every front.
Craig A. Bond portrays Felix Turner, a writer for the New York Times who falls for Ned even as he is unwilling to promote his article about the epidemic.
Bond invests his character with a breezy, flirtatious warmth in the early scenes that turns to wrenching anguish by final curtain. The scene in which Felix visits Ben, Ned’s estranged lawyer brother in an attempt to complete his will, is indelible.
Christian Munck plays Bruce Niles, the cautious, polite and closeted ‘good cop’ in this world of gay activism. The exaggerated contrast of Bruce’s self-absorbed narcissism with Ned’s fierce outspoken indictment of the governmental and scientific silence is startling. Munck’s monologue about the dehumanizing treatment of a dying lover is delivered with power.
Emma Messenger gives a convincing portrayal of Dr. Emma Brookner, the first known medical doctor to become aware of the burgeoning epidemic.
Director Paul Jaquith’s clear-eyed direction is unflinching in its insistence on realism in treating the material.
The Normal Heart was produced off Broadway in 1985 and garnered three Tony awards including one for best revival of a play in 2011. It was produced as a film made for televison that starred Mark Ruffalo in 2014.
In the Intimacy of the Bond/Trimble theatre, "The Normal Heart" will take your breath away.
Vintage Theatre presents
"The Normal Heart"
Jan. 15 - Feb. 21
A searing drama about public and private indifference to the AIDS epidemic.
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.; Monday, January 25 and (closing) Sunday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m
$20 - $30
303-856-7830 or online at www.vintagetheatre.org
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010Marlowe's Musing