There is not a more fitting way to mark the 30th anniversary of William H. Hoffman’s play As Is, than to be transferring to Trafalgar Studios 2 this summer. With a run from 1st July-1st August 2015, what is being described as The First AIDS Play was a sell-out success at The Finborough Theatre in 2013.
As Is is Directed by the award winning Andrew Keates, an avid HIV and AIDS campaigner who comments:
When I first directed As Is there were three reasons why I wanted to mount a production of this extraordinary play. Firstly, because it is an authentic immediate response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Secondly, to honour all of those who were lost to AIDS during those impossible times and, lastly, because if as a result of seeing As Is even one person was inspired to get tested for HIV and discovered they were positive then they could receive the vital treatment they needed. I had never dreamed that person would be me (as I spoke about for the MAD Trust at last year’s West End Eurovision). Since my diagnosis as HIV+ it has become my life’s work using the arts to educate and inspire those who may be too frightened to learn the facts and history about HIV and AIDS.
Set in 1985, New Yorker Rich (Steven Webb), a young writer who is beginning to find success, is breaking up with his longtime partner, Saul (David Poynor), a professional photographer. However, Rich’s bliss with his new lover is short-lived when he learns that he has contracted the frightening new disease AIDS and he returns to Saul for sanctuary as he awaits its slow and awful progression. The interaction between Rich and his friends and family, as well as medical staff, is also a key thread to this production.
Other cast members include Dino Fetscher from the hit Channel 4/E4 LGBT series’ Banana and Cucumber, Jane Lowe who is possibly best known for playing the wrongly convicted Monica Lindsay in the first season of ITV’s Bad Girls (Spooks, Jekyll and Hyde, Medea), Giles Cooper from the Blockbuster film PridTe (Henry V, After the Dance, The Knight of the Burning Pestle), Natalie Burt from Channel 4’s Scrotal Recall and the hugely popular BBC series Blandings, Russell Morton (Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory, Piaf, Bent), and Bevan Celestine (I Wish To Die Singing, Lonely Londoners, Empires).
Although the premise of As Is is poignant, this play is a blend of humour as well as reflection on HIV, which has reached an all time record high number of Gay and Bisexual men being diagnosed with it in 2011 in the UK. This statistic is a reminder of the relevance of As Is in today’s society, and that awareness of HIV and AIDS needs to have the sense of urgency that it did in the 1980’s.
Performance Dates: Wednesday 1st July – Saturday 1st August 2015 Monday to Saturday, 7.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees, 3pm
To book tickets: http://www.atgtickets.com/trafalgarstudios