Not Skipping a Beat

My copy of The Normal Heart by Larry Krammer came to me second hand and with it came a message from a previous reader. One single page in the whole of the book has been marked with a fold down the whole of the page, not a tiny dog ear in the corner, a fold down the length of the page. Page 105 folded over onto to page 106. There were no other marks or folds in this copy. The page is now unfolded; a crease remains. The previous reader marked the rhetorical and dramatic centre of the play. Scene 11, Act Two. The two antagonists embrace after one delivers a speech. The speech is delivered in two parts. Part one relates the battle to fly a person with AIDS to his mother. Airline pilot having refused to take off had to be replaced with another. The tale continues: the person with AIDS displays dementia; becomes incontinent; police van meets the plane with police in protective covering that made them look like astronauts; by the time the hospital is reached the object of attention has died. The stage direction is short but interpreted as full of compassion.

NED starts toward him.

There is more, other acts of discrimination. The speech continues with the aftermath of finding an undertaker willing to handle the body.

NED crosses to BRUCE and embraces him; BRUCE puts his arms around NED.

The play ends with another embrace after another death. (Ned and his brother Ben who too have been at odds).

The back cover copy positions the play as an indictment breaking the conspiracy of silence. Yes it is that. It is also testimony. Although, it may seem to call for rage, it enacts hope. It was important then.

And now by its sheer form it gives us beauty. Again.

Beauty, Rage and Love embracing in and through Art.

And so for day 242