The play is called "The Normal Heart" and was written in 1985 by Larry Kramer, an initially reluctant and then in-your-face AIDS advocate, who portrays his own S.O.B.-ness quite well in the course of the 90 minutes it takes to recap the early days of what became known as AIDS.
A local theater group transformed an art gallery into their stage where an intimate crowd of about 50 could gather. When I attended only about 35 were there. The director explained in some opening remarks that several of his friends had applauded his acknowledging the 25th anniversary of the disease's discovery with this production. But that they had also told him they wouldn't be in attendance. Seeing what they'd lived was just too hard.
By scene 11 I was crying. At scene 16 and the close of the play, I was sobbing, shaking and wishing the intimate setting weren't quite so intimate. The bowing actors weren't three feet from my sniffing, snorting, napkin-blowing hysteria. I kept my head down but who was I kidding?
I sat still for just a few minutes to regain some composure and soon one of the actors came from backstage. He'd hurriedly dressed in order to make it to me. Asking my friend if it would be "appropriate" and then me, he hugged me long and hard.
"It's taken too long," he said in my ear as he continued to hold on and I began sobbing again.
He meant to cure this horrific disease. I agreed, but didn't have the heart to tell him that that's not why I was crying.
Yes, I have watched men & women die from AIDS. But I wasn't seeing their faces. Instead, I saw my friends and the bullying they'd endured through the years. I cried for the injustice, the insanity, man's inhumanity to man, and more. Not only did the government, the media, and the medical profession fail thousands in their initial unwillingness to acknowledge what the disease was doing, the homosexual community failed itself as individuals waged battles with one another rather than lead the way. I cried because bullies still exist and men and women still closet themselves away.