A true and moving story about the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish-American founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. This astonishing and touching but with lots of humor told story goes about a close group of friends and their fight against politicians, doctors and media, who want to cover up the truth about this awful disease. A disease that has a great impact and effect in that period for the gay community.
The Normal Heart is a largely autobiographical play by Larry Kramer. He received 3 Tony Awards for his play and raving reviews from the American press. New York Daily News called it a ‘breathtaking achievement’ and The New York Times wrote; ‘Deeply affecting… The Normal Heart is breathing fire’. So if you didn’t know anything about this story already, then THIS year you should be ashamed of yourself. Not only as being a part of our LGBT community, this true story is part of our history and effects everybody.
On the 25th of May American Television channel HBO showed an adaption of this play with big names playing some of the characters like Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons. Later the TV-movie got shown in several other countries like in the Netherlands and in the UK. The drama tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the upcoming epidemic to a city and nation in denial. Ned Weeks prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal.
Mark Ruffalo (In The Cut) portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer (White Collar) plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Taylor Kitsch (Savages) plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright (reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival). Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS. Other roles are played by Alfred Molina (Spiderman), B.D. Wong (Law&Order:SVU) and Jonathan Groff (Looking).
Strong lines from the play that gives you a good insight and something to think about:
Dr. Emma Brookner: “You don’t need everybody’s love and approval” Ned Weeks: “I want to be remembered as the man who won the war” Felix Turner: “Whoever thought you’d die from making love” Micky Marcus: “Can’t you see how important it is for us to love openly, without hiding, without guilt?” Bruce Niles: “To win a war, you have to start one”
The play has been performed on stage in many theaters around the world. After a successful 1985 Off-Broadway production at The Public Theater, the play was revived in Los Angeles and London and again Off-Broadway in 2004. A Broadway debut opened in April 2011. This weekend at the Jericho Arts Center Vancouver in Canada “The Normal Heart” will open by the Ensemble Theatre Company and it is already called Fierce, moving and unrelentingly gripping like the TV adaption. In the Netherlands they performed it for the first time around Gay Pride week in Amsterdam last year for one week and every performance was sold out. The main cast is played by Freek Bartels, Frederik Brom, Beau Schneider, Kevin Hassing and Jelle de Jong. Other actors are Cas Jansen, Thijs Römer, Henriëtte Tol en Marisa Van Eyle, who play replace each other in the play. This year they revise the play at the 2nd of August for Gay Pride again, but afterwards they are going to tour through the whole country. I am going to watch it on the 7th of October 2014 and the press praised in into the sky. Reactions were: “Impressive scenes about losing and friendship”, “Every sentence goes right through you” and “Penetrating Aids Drama without mentioning the word AIDS”.
It is an unforgettable and touching theater experience that shows that LOVE is EQUAL for everybody. A definite tearjerker and also a true story that keeps you thinking about it over and over….and over again. If you haven’t book your tickets to a theater in your neighborhood, DO IT NOW!!! http://www.thenormalheart.nl/