Sean Hart as Nick and Denholm Spurr as Alex in the London production of The HIV Monologues at Miranda London in 2016.
What is it?
It’s a play by English playwright Patrick Cash, originally produced in London in 2016.
What’s it about?
It’s a series of linked monologues by four characters: Alex, a young actor who falls in love with a man with HIV in 2016; Nick, the man he falls in love with; Barney, a playwright who lost his lover to AIDS; and Irene, a nurse who took care of the dying lover (and brought him a Mojito on his deathbed!).
So it takes place in two time periods, the AIDS epidemic and now (well, 2016)?
Yes, but the periods are linked, because the young actor in 2016 portrays Eric, the lover who died of AIDS, in a show written by the aging Barney.
And how was it?
I really liked it a lot. Unlike some plays, this one reads very well, as it is essentially a series of stories related by the various characters, without a lot of stage directions and such. The characters are engaging, there is pleasing complexity that emerges as you understand how these stories connect (via a virus that is still present today as it was decades ago, and is still affecting gay men’s behaviour), it’s humorous and touching, and it has something to teach us about some connecting threads in the experiences of different generations of gay men.
One. A very enjoyable read, and one that taught me some things. A play that gives form to that elusive thing, the gay community.