RUN to see this show!

[one_half]I thought you’d appreciate these comments from a voting member of our theatre nominations committee:

RUN to see this show!
Forget everything you’ve ever heard or thought about “AIDS plays” or even “euthanasia plays.” This is definitely NOT “Longtime Companion” meets “The Dr. Kevorkian Story.” This David Rabe drama (with touches of comic relief) operates on several levels at once, and all of them brilliantly.

Yes, this is serious drama. It deals with very heavy themes. It’s definitely not the “feel-good” play of the year. But it is probably one of the most inventive, intelligent and important productions L.A. is likely to see.

Although the “floor level” plot does involve terminal disease and the question of assisted suicide, Rabe has created a towering multi-story achievement that simultaneously addresses the distinctions between: romantic vs sexual attraction in lgbt/all relationships; the leader vs the led in partnerships; honesty vs. duplicity; supportive non-sexual friendships vs. shallow acquaintanceships; organized religion vs. personal faith; U.S. vs. South American culture; U.S. law vs. American morality. Even more intriguingly, the play makes a case for the similarities between dreams and reality, between life and death itself.

At times the AIDS language is so descriptive that I could no longer stare into the actors’ eyes. But at other times, the dialog and action is symbolically detached.The symbolism is neither oblique nor hits you over the head. You’ll take from this play whatever you need to.
[/one_half] [one_half_last] A Question of Mercy

Even more striking is the complete absense of moralizing about how someone “catches” AIDS. The existence of gay love is a given — never excused nor explained, the way lgbt playwrights sometimes feel obliged to do. (Rabe is married to Jill Clayburgh and has not addressed our community before. I only hope this play represents his future willingness to do so again.)I was at first put-off by the main comic relief coming from an African-American doorman whose name indicates he’s Italian-American. But as his character develops, his true “self” is revealed. The second source of comic relief comes from the PWA’s own mouth. But how else can one cope with a terminal disease in not with humor through the pain?

The play is called A QUESTION OF MERCY because it confronts questions rather than providing simple answers.Not even a predictable ending here. But there’s no question at all that this is a definite contender for this year’s GLAAD L.A. Theatre Award.

Another question is why this Off-Broadway hit isn’t playing a larger venue like The Taper here. But to paraphrase Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” : “There are no small theatres, only small productions.”

And there’s nothing “small” about the mounting of this show. Playing to 39 seats nightly , each performance has been selling out days in advance. That explains the “guest must pay policy” as well as why your money is so well spent here. So check your calendars, pick up the phone and make a reservation at least a week ahead to avoid disappointment.

Jim Talbot
12th Annual GLAAD Media Awards 2001
Los Angeles Theatre Nominations
111 plays scored by August 4
1,296 sheets submitted
An average of 11.68 Voting Members at every lgbt play in LA

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