The Lavender Effect Presents Free Performance of LGBTQ+ Play Y2K at West Hollywood Park Auditorium
THE LAVENDER EFFECT is presenting a free workshop performance of the new LGBTQ+ play "y2k" by Michael Liberatore, at West Hollywood Park Auditorium on Saturday December 15, 2018 at 7pm. Directed by Jill Andre and starring Mel England, Michael Vaccaro and Christopher Stephanic, "y2k" is set at the turn of the millennium in New York City in the critical days of the AIDS Epidemic during the emergence of life-saving drugs that transformed the landscape of Gay men's relationships and lives.
This special benefit performance of "y2k" is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood's Arts Division, and is part of The Lavender Effect's "Queerstory Performance Series" presenting theatre and performances celebrating LGBTQ+ history and culture. "y2k" will be performed Saturday December 15, 2018 at 7pm, West Hollywood Park Auditorium at 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA, running time: 90 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission. Tickets are free and reservations can be made at thelavendereffect.org/events.
"y2k" takes place in late 1999, amidst the panic of the y2k computer programming bug that was to threaten havoc on computers everywhere. Meanwhile, Gay men's lives were - with the development of the new "cocktail" - suddenly being saved. The main character, Ralph (England) is still living with the PTSD of the early AIDS crisis and haunted by the ghost of his dead lover Neddy (Vaccaro). Ralf is surrounded by his new a new generation of Gay men, including his new boyfriend Sasha (Stefanic), who didn't live through the hopeless beginnings of the AIDS crisis. "y2k" deals with the changing roles and identities that Gay men had to shape-shift from a closeted generation, to activists, to fighting for their lives. With the hope of the "cocktail" the question was: who are we now?
Liberatore's first play, "y2K" is his personal and semi-autobiographical account of a generation of Gay men who had come of age surrounded by the existential threat of AIDS, and the ensuing survivor's guilt. Having found their "identity" in the mission of AIDS activism, the emergence of the "hope" of the "cocktail" created a kind of reckoning of what had been, what was lost, juxtaposed with the prospect of what could be.
"Poised on a new era of sexual freedom, acceptance and liberation, AIDS changed how LGBTQ+ people were perceived... it was a period of tremendous growth, of learning how to care for others, find one's tribe," Liberatore writes in a forward to the play. He continues," As the millennium approached, that way of life shifted again- this time with protease inhibitors reducing the death sentence of AIDS to a chronic, manageable illness. The tribe began to fall apart... Some of us were deeply conflicted. Grateful for a new chance at life--but lost as our cause morphed into something completely different. Something foreign and not within our control." - Michael Liberatore, Playwright
Liberatore approached England with the play in 2015 after seeing him in the film "Best Day Ever" and wanted the actor to work on the play. They had several readings, re-writes, and had just begun the process of this workshop in late 2016 when Liberatore was diagnosed with Cancer. He passed away in January 2017.
"It is an overwhelming honor that Michael wanted me to work on the play," England says, "Bringing it to the next step, a performance, is just wonderful. I'm so grateful to everyone who is helping to make this happen. Michael wanted us to do this."
England, who serves on THE LAVENDER EFFECT Board of Advisors, brought the play to its #Queerstory Performance Series. Executive Director Andy Sacher, who had been at an early reading, felt this was a perfect opportunity to tell this moving story.
Sacher said "As our LGBTQ+ Rights Movement was just gaining momentum; our community was devastated by the scourge of the AIDS Epidemic. "y2k" is a new play about an important milestone in the history of AIDS and Gay men's lives. Michael tells his story of transformation when the cocktail converted an automatic death sentence to one of hope and potential survival."
THE LAVENDER EFFECT (www.TheLavenderEffect.org) is a nonprofit project of Community Partners that is dedicated to advancing the future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Heritage and Culture. Founded in May of 2012, our programs celebrate diverse culture by teaching the contributions of LGBTQ+ and allied pioneers. Our Oral History Project captures video testimonies from members of the LGBTQ+ community, and supportive allies, who were integral participants or witnesses to a historic event or movement. These recordings are being produced at the highest standards available utilizing Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation Interview Guidelines. More than 50 hours of testimonies have been viewed over 150,000 times worldwide. Other collaborative programs include Out & About Tours, PRIDE Explorer, Educational Forums, and Cultural Events.