What’s On: The Normal Heart (Ad Astra)

Felix Jarvis as Felix Turner and Gregory J Wilken as Ned Weeks

The Normal Heart

3 – 27 November 2022

Ad Astra, 57 Misterton St, Fortitude Valley

Ad Astra concludes their 2022 season with The Normal Heart, a largely autobiographical play by Larry Kramer which focuses on the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early eighties.

The Normal Heart looks at the crisis through the eyes of Jewish American author Ned Weeks, the gay founder of a prominent HIV advocacy committee. Ned is loud, confrontational, and passionate about getting the message out about this disease, while his friends are dying and the various government bodies are silent. Ned is faced with a hostile government, and even a hostile gay community, as the death toll rises.

Dr Emma Brookner, a physician and survivor of polio, is the most experienced with this strange new outbreak and bemoans the lack of medical knowledge on the illness. She encourages the abstinence of gay men for their own safety, since it is still unknown how the disease is spread.

Ned, a patient and friend of Brookner, calls upon his lawyer brother, Ben, to help fund his crisis organization; however, Ben’s attitude toward his brother is to give merely passive support, ultimately exposing his own homophobia. Meanwhile, for the first time in his life, Ned falls in love, beginning a relationship with New York Times writer Felix Turner.

Gregory J Wilken as Ned Weeks and Felix Jarvis as Felix Turner

The Normal Heart was first presented on 21 April 1985 at the Public Theatre in New York City, New York, in a New York Shakespeare Festival Production, produced by Joseph Papp. It has been 30 years since The Normal Heart hit the stage to critical acclaim, 40 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic, and a couple of years since the passing of the playwright, Larry Kramer.

At a time when we have witnessed the world coming together, where governments have moved mountains and love and compassion have abounded, this story speaks of a completely different response to a widespread health crisis, as it only impacts a minority.

For ticketing and further information, visit the Ad Astra website

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