On Friday November the 30th and Saturday, the 1st of December, two performances of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart were given in Amsterdam’s The Compagnietheater.
Set in 1981 – 1984, New York, the play tells of the terrifying period when AIDS first marched in as a new epidemic.
This production, rendered in Readers Theatre style, hit me with the urgency, the anger of Kramer’s script, brilliantly translated by Coot van Doesburgh. Some in the audience, like myself, were fidgeting with discomfort at the facts, figures and emotions of that period. Yes, we remembered that confusing, horrifying period; New York, Amsterdam, London or Singapore.
In Readers Theatre style, the cast here delivered a very strong performance, drawing us into the fears and political indignation at that time. Frederik Brom and Henriëtte Tol tore my heart with their intense reading of the main roles. The strong lines of the script, showed how timeless this story is.
This cast, without the distraction of full staging, with only chairs, one wheelchair and scripts in hands, took me through that harrowing period again. My heart was hurting, with thanks to the solid ensemble of actors.
The dedicated performances from the actors did suffer a little in the telephone scene because of the fast-paced, overlapping lines they must deliver. I cannot wait for 2013 when it goes into full production.
This is a story that is as relevant today as when it was first written. The epidemic is far from over, the struggles and sadness continue. The fight is not over. The love continues……. normal or otherwise. I cycled home that World Aid’s Night with a glowing red heart.
This writer attended the evening performance of The Normal Heart on the 1st December 2012.
*Photo credit: Greetje Mulder/The Normal Heart
Regie Job Gosschalk
Vertaling Coot van Doesburgh
Ned Weeks Frederik Brom
Emma Brookner Henriëtte Tol
Felix Turner Freek Bartels
Ben Weeks Ruben Lürsen
Bruce Niles Kevin Hassing
Mickey Marcus Jelle De Jong
Hiram Keebler & Christopher Parren
Tommy Boatwright & Wouter Zweers
Producenten Maarten Voogel
Producer Gabriël Bos
Regieassistent Bram Jansen
Productieassitent Jantine van Doorn
Techniek Compagnietheater Meijnard Scheers
Hans van Zijpp