OK! So, it looks like I might be falling in love with staged theater (thanks Fauna! #Sarcasm), who knew? Well a few days ago I went to watch my first professional Broadway play, at the gorgeous Arena Stage: The Normal Heart.
The Tony award winning show written by Larry Kramer is a passion-filled count of the experiences, mostly horrific, of a few gay activists in New York City, during the early days of the HIV pandemic.
It would have been cool if Jim Parsons (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) was actually playing; he was in the original Broadway crew, but was not available for the DC tour.
At any rate, I had no background info on the play until I got there: I was mostly in an artistic mission, looking not at the depicted story, but all the other external aspects of such a production, i.e. anything that would convince me to abandon my TV (acting, clothing, stage props, decoration, lighting, etc...), and from my front row seat (a man can brag!!) my eyes were right where they needed to be.
Verdict: I was mesmerized! The level of production is phenomenal. The fast-paced dialogue and change in between scenes, the details in the clothing, the choice of lighting sequence and the acting, etc... It's amazing what they can achieve with a hospital bed, a table and 3 chairs. I think I understand why I love Aaron Sorkin so much, as he was first a playwright before migrating to television.
Because I was so captivated by the production, I had to listen to the story which although has brought a third of the crowd to tears, lacked perspective in my opinion. The author chose to make his points almost only from a unique view, that of the modern LGBT: open, proud and loud, not afraid to get out not only from the closet but also from the house and their comfort zones to challenge the system, not hesitating to use questionable political maneuvers. The lead character Ned and his doctor Emma are prime examples and their monologue is very touching. The obvious goal from the playwright and director was to get to the heart of the crowd, but they somewhat failed to get to me.
I feel like some of the other characters could have been used a little more to bring other viewpoints: The other two activists, for example, who preferred to make back-room deals and concessions without trying the issue front and center, maybe because they were afraid to lose their job (I am thinking about the guy from the city's Health Services who had been fighting for gay rights even before the HIV issue) or other consequences to their actions.
No matter what I think of this, I feel very strongly about the quality of the show presented on that stage, and well now theater is definitely on my list of sources of entertainment.
P.S: Oh and yeah, the Jewish jokes were on point ;)