(L to R) Michael Berresse as Mickey Marcus, Patrick Breen as Ned Weeks, Jon Levenson as Hiram Keebler and Nick Mennell as Bruce Niles in The Normal Heart at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater June 8-July 29, 2012. Photo by Scott Suchman.
The stage is fairly empty, save for some scribbling on the white set – words, shadowy and illegible until the lights come up. Slowly, our eyes adjust and we make out some phrases published by the press in the early 1980s. The first one I can read is damning: “By our silence we have helped murder each other.” Before the first scene of The Normal Heart at Arena Stage comes to a halt, I’ve read the writing on the wall quite literally; and the writing tells me we’re doomed.
The Normal Heart – Arena Stage‘s nearly flawless production of the 2011 Tony-winning revival – moves with a thunderous pace and makes clear its own immediacy from its first scene to its haunting end. Never stopping to take a breath, the show instead devotes every moment to its characters and their dealings with the AIDS epidemic that began, largely unheeded, in 1981.
‘HIV Test at 12th and Locust Streets’
courtesy of ‘techfun’
Without a doubt, HIV is a huge problem in the District. Huge. The rate of infection is nearly 10 times (that is TEN times) the national average. DC’s sole member of Congress, Rep. Holmes Norton (D-DC), has always made HIV awareness and prevention an important topic and she continues to do so today as she co-hosts and attends a free HIV testing event. The mobile station will be setup at New Jersey Ave and C St. SE from 12:00pm to 3:00pm today. She will also be holding a press conference to draw extra attention to the situation as well as the free testing in recognition of National HIV Testing Day this Sunday.
‘IMG_6330’ courtesy of ‘muztiko’
For those of us craving some Vegas madness, a definite “don’t miss” is Casino Night this Thursday, June 4th, 6PM to 12AM at Teatro Goldoni. Proceeds from this gambling themed party will benefit local DC non-profit Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care (PAHC).
Check it out:
$20 gets you in the door with free cocktails until 8pm and free hors d’oeuvres all night.
An additional $20 (optional) gets you unlimited chips for blackjack, craps, roulette and Wheel of Fortune (sorry, no Pat Sajack).
If you’re a true gambler, $200 gets you into the Texas Hold’em Tournament (20 limit).
Players with the most chips at the end of the night receive prizes.
Can’t wait until Thursday to take a gamble? Check out the event’s promotional website, Beat The Odds; buy your tickets or make a donation at Groundspring’s website.