As part of our community gathering, actors will be reading sections of Plague of the Gorgeous, followed by a panel discussion of how times have changed. Plague of the Gorgeous, originally produced in 1993 consisted of five short HIV-themed scripts to be performed together. More context on the production and subsequent publication is included below:
Plague of the Gorgeous Introduction
In 1993, in the heart of the AIDS crisis, a small group of gay men decided that Vancouver should have a professional queer theatre company. The experiment didn’t last long, but AIDS/HIV was central to Out West Performance Society’s two big initiatives.
The Beloved Project consisted of a series of letters written, within the context of AIDS and HIV, to a person loved by the writer. The writers read their letters at the Vancouver Art Gallery on World AIDS Day. They were also performed at other events and broadcast on the CBC.
For Plague of the Gorgeous and Other Tales, which was initially called The HIV Project, Out West’s dramaturgical committee selected five short HIV-themed scripts to be performed together. The scripts vary widely in content and style. The title piece, Gordon Armstrong’s Plague of the Gorgeous, is a camp science-fiction satire — wth teeth: it criticizes governments and the medical industry for their callous treatment of people dealing with AIDS and HIV. With all of its Noël Coward stylishness, Peter Eliot Weiss’s Remembering Shanghai is an ode to tenderness. And you’ll get a taste of two more stylistically distinct pieces today, Lisa Lowe’s Crowns and Anchors and Colin Thomas’s Sex Is My Religion.
The evening of collected works enjoyed a successful run at The Cultch and the scripts were published together by Scirocco Drama.