RTP’s ‘Lazarus Syndrome’ is an AIDS story that’s not about AIDS
The Richmond Triangle Players’ Lazarus Syndrome aims to let you deal with somebody else’s family issues for a change.
The play is about Elliot, who has been HIV positive for the majority of his adult life. He is dealing with the guilt of his survival as he continues to lose loved ones to the disease. The story begins after Elliot had been isolated in his New York apartment for 9 days.
Throughout the play Elliot’s loved ones come to the apartment to check on him. With these visits comes some relatable family baggage. There is brotherly competition, familial grief, issues with fathers and much more.
The writer of this play, Bruce Ward, was inspired by real life events when creating the production. Ward is credited with one of the first plays written about the epidemic when he produced Paint By Numbers in 1983.
“I was living with this roommate years ago who would get so depressed that he basically didn’t leave his room for a couple of years. And I thought, ‘What kind of problem would keep someone from leaving their apartment for days or weeks?’” said Ward in an interview with GayRVA.
Another influence the writer had when forming this piece was how society deals with and perceives the AIDS crisis.
“I wanted to write something dealing with the issues of a long-term survivor of the AIDS epidemic,” Ward said. “A lot of people think about AIDS as what it was like in the early years and they aren’t aware of certain issues that people have who are still living with the virus.”
Though Lazarus Syndrome deals with the serious topic of HIV affliction, Ward wants the audience to know that the play is actually a comedy and that the principal issue in the show isn’t the main character’s disease, it’s his interpersonal relationships.
“It’s not a play about AIDS, it’s a play that happens to have a character with the disease. It is really about resilience, family, heritage and what it takes to overcome grief,” Ward said. “I think anybody can relate to that.”
The play originally premiered in Washington DC in the fall of 2007. Phil Crosby of The Richmond Triangle Players was at that performance and has been trying to get show over to Richmond ever since.
After almost nine years, production finally began on Lazarus Syndrome here in Richmond and the playwright is ecstatic with the local talent the city has had to offer.
“I’m really moved with the quality of the theatre scene here; it is really supportive and full of talented actors and designers,” Ward said. “Richmond has a great theatre community. It’s impressive.”
Lazarus Syndrome opens tonight at 8PM at at 1300 Altamont Avenue. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.
If you can’t make it tonight, you have from now until March 19th to catch the show. For specific dates and times you can visit here.
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