The Normal Heart

I saw the preview performance of The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer at Santa Fe Playhouse, which runs until June 25. Duchess Dale directed a superb cast. This is a difficult play about a serious subject, but that should not stop you from seeing it. I remember this time in our history. I lost many friends to the AIDS epidemic. I know people who are still living with the disease. I didn’t know, however, the politics behind AIDS, which is the theme of The Normal Heart. I did know that in 1981 there was no information for doctors, no articles, no money being raised. I didn’t realize what weasels our political leaders, medical establishment,and media were or how frightened the gay community was, not just about the disease, but about the prospect that it could lose everything it had been able to gain.

This disease is not like polio or smallpox. It has not been conquered. There is no vaccine. People are still dying or living physically compromised lives. This play may help you understand why. Good for Santa Fe Playhouse for producing The Normal Heart.

The main thing I didn’t know or even think about was why it took so many years to get the word out. The artistic community was losing huge numbers of people—and not a word, not a pink ribbon, not a march, nothing. It is fascinating to know why. The young man playing the Larry Kramer role is totally wonderful. I hope you will go and tell friends. 

I can’t see it again because it is simply too painful to remember it all and to know that our politicians have not only remained the same—they are worse. I am too old to bear this.

—Rhea Maxwell