The Normal Heart-Studio 180-Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Benc7
Understudy
joined:8/22/09
Understudy
joined:
8/22/09
A superb production of Larry Kramer's 1985 autobiographical play that deals with the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York.Stunning performance by Jonathan Wilson as Ned Weeks,(Larry Kramer's character). The production,the acting is riveting;I forgot I was watching a play! It's a highlight of this season's Toronto theatre scene.

two acts, one intermission.

http://www.buddiesinbadtimes.com/show.cfm?id=772
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canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/14/07
Agreed. Studio 180 Theatre's production of The Normal Heart, effectively staged in the round at Buddies, played out almost like a documentary of the times. Strong performances, some wonderfully stirring and scathing speeches. Definitely a must-see of the season.

http://www.studio180theatre.com/productions/the-normal-heart

This week I also saw Soulpepper's production of Ibsen's Ghosts. In a way, Ghosts was the antithesis of The Normal Heart, yet they also bear some commonality.

In Heart, set in the early 1980's New York, the characters show all of their feelings and more in thrilling, passionate speeches. In Ghosts, set in 1880's Norway, the characters are constrained by society's codes of behavior, and the acting is reserved.

Yet the gay men in The Normal Heart are also constrained in their own lives (some are only partly out) and by the anti-gay establishment (closeted NY mayor Koch, President Reagan) and the willful ignorance and disrespect from the gay community to the stridency of AIDS activists. And the characters of Ghosts face what might seem to be modern-day problems: sexually transmitted disease, baby daddys, secret loves for the clergy or half-siblings.

And ironically, I felt that The Normal Heart seemed like the more "historical" play--perhaps because it's based on actual events, actual history--whereas I kept thinking about Ghosts in terms of the similarities and differences between the world of Mrs. Alving and our own.

The in-the-round staging of The Normal Heart was very effective, dropping the audience right into the world of the characters. Ghosts applied conventional staging in a beautiful designed way (sets, costumes and lighting).

If one is planning to see both, I would recommend the more somber Ghosts first. I found that the reserved toned-down style of acting less favorable--and would have liked the production to play up the melodrama of the shocking family secrets. The Normal Heart, on the other hand, plays it up big (as it should), yet balances Ned Week's (Kramer's stand-in character) stridency with the voices of his adversaries--in many cases, his own friends. If one can only see one of these plays, see The Normal Heart.

http://www.soulpepper.ca/performances/11_season/ghosts.aspx
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
Updated On: 10/22/11 at 04:36 PM
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canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/14/07
Just noticed that Studio 180 tweeted this:

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Studio 180 Theatre ? @stu180theatre
HotDocs has a pic about the origins of ACT UP. That's one we won't be missing as we prep for THE NORMAL HEART remount. http://www.hotdocs.ca/film/title/united_in_anger_a_history_of_act_up
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The Normal Heart remount? When? Where?

Edit: the remount will be at Buddies in the fall.
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
Updated On: 4/14/12 at 06:34 PM
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canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/14/07
The remount of Studio 180's excellent production of The Normal Heart is now playing... and there are discounts.

Tickets can be ordered by calling 416-872-1212 or 416-975-8555 or studio180theatre.com or Mirvish website. Use the following discount codes (reg. price is $40):

$10 tickets* available on Tues, Nov 6 at 8 PM - Use code VOTE10 for this special price

$20 tickets* available for all performances until Nov18 - Use code NH20 for this special price
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)
canmark Profile Photocanmark Profile Photo
canmark
Broadway Legend
joined:3/14/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/14/07
The HBO movie version of The Normal Heart is playing at the insideout LGBT film festival on May 23. Matt Bomer is scheduled to attend.

http://insideout.ca/torontofestival/film/the-normal-heart
Coach Bob knew it all along: you've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows. (John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire)

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