“Well, close the fucking curtain!”: The Ailing White Body and the Disposability of Minoritised Medical Professionals in the Theatre of HIV/AIDS

Paper first presented at Intersections Conference, 10/02/2021

Russel T. Davies’ recent tv show It’s a Sin has put a spotlight on the “supposed” forgotten history of HIV/AIDS. However, Davies’ show is but one in a line of productions that have returned to the period of crisis in recent years. Examples include: the tv show Pose, the film Dallas Buyer’s Club, a National Theatre revival of Angels in America, a Broadway revival of Falsettos, along with reprints of several memoirs and novels from the time of crisis. By looking backwards, we are encouraged to firmly place AIDS as a historical event, something that was of the gay community then, but is not of the gay community now. As Dion Kagan suggests:

This 'pasting' of AIDS may help viewers to forget the circumstances of global poverty and privilege that informs who has access to ARVs, education and healthcare. It can foreclose the situations of global HIV/AIDS, which may otherwise seem too complex and overwhelming. If HIV/AIDS is a crisis in other, non-western parts of the world, this is because, temporally speaking, these places are 'behind' the west. If the construction of AIDS as part of an extraordinary past functions as a means of shoring up the normative gay present, it also enables both humane and liberal eyes to look forward, turning discreetly away from both past and present crises.[1]

The Gay Plague of the early-1980s has transformed. No longer is it pathologized as suicidal behaviour from promiscuous queers who love poppers and fist-fucking, neither do we think of HIV/AIDS as impacting Risk Groups, such as the 4 Hs: homosexual, haemophiliac, heroin user, and Haitian. The conversation instead focuses on risk behaviours, such as unprotected sex – both anal and vaginal, but typically associated with anal, and needle sharing. Rather, the biopolitics of HIV risk behaviours allow for a further separation among communities, separating them into good and bad. There is an assumed knowledge of the ways in which HIV is transmitted, though public sexual health education still prioritises normative forms of sexual experience which also excludes heterosexual anal sex. The masculine-coded anus is a site of danger, while the female-coded anus is a site of “straight” kinky pleasure. It is no wonder then that the conversation surrounding HIV transmission within the gay community focuses on sexuality. Consider the stigma-busting slogan “U=U,” this frames the body with an undetectable viral load as an object of safe sexuality. Which of course, it is. My question is, when we think of gay AIDS narratives, why do we immediately assume transmission was sexual, as opposed to medicinal or medical? While the past couple of decades have led to the the pornification of bareback sex, we have also seen a rise in the popularity of chemsex in the queer community – often framed as an activity enjoyed by the city-dwelling urban fag.  

We understand our history as gay people through the representations that exist in dominant cultures. We seek gay-authored stories, about gay people for gay people because we assume these stories provide a truth that cannot be fully grasped by non-queer storytellers. It has become a trope to envision a now which was not devasted by the AIDS crisis and the stories that may have emerged if their tellers had not been stolen from us. But what this narrative of idealisation alludes to is an understanding that existent stories are those told by the survivors of Epidemic time, often those who had the access to ARVs, education, healthcare, opportunity and luck.

AIDS storytelling frequently centres a white face, as signifier for a universal experience. It is important to stress here that as queer people we like to think of ourselves as beyond, or above, the normative power structures through which we must navigate on a daily basis, and this often means we do not, or refuse, to contend with the ways in which we may be propping these normative constructs within our own writings.

While during this talk I may slip into homogenous language, referring to the queer community, the Black community and so forth, I want to stress that this is linguistic shorthand. These communities, in so far as we can think of them as communities sharing singular goals, are not monolithic. My aim in this paper is not to suggest that we need less AIDS narratives from the perspective of white, cis, gay men, but rather that these narratives, while lauded as groundbreaking, often repeat similar narrative beats, and feature the same troupe of characters. The white gay man is a safe hero for these stories, because often their presence does not require audiences to contend with the intersections that fell upon other marginalised peoples, and the ways in which they had to, and continue to, navigate AIDS. The white gay man is the sympathetic body with AIDS, while the marginalised characters often find themselves in the position of caregiver, the resilient minority.

Perhaps the most well-known Black character in any theatrical production of the AIDS crisis is Belize, from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Belize is a nurse in a downtown New York hospital who finds himself taking care of his friend Prior, and Roy Cohn who is a real historical figure, and an absolute monster. Belize is the only Black body on stage, as he quips: “I am trapped in a world of white people. That’s my problem.”[2] He is aware of his positioning within the production, his scenes frequently end with him telling someone that he has better places to be. “I have to go. If I want to spend my whole lonely life looking after white people I can get underpaid to do it[,]”[3] or, another example, “I can’t help you, Louis [I can never remember it if’s pronounced Louis or Lewis]. You’re not my business.”[4] But does a world exist for Belize off-stage? No other character spends so much of the play telling other characters about their rich inner-life away from the world as depicted on stage, or as Belize states: “I do have a life of my own, you know.”[5] This alleged life includes the existence of a man uptown, unnamed, unseen, and never again mentioned after this point. For whom then does Belize exist?

   When discussing Belize, Ramzi Fawaz suggests:

His name, "Belize," a drag moniker "that stuck" self-consciously references a Central American and Carribbean nation where the Atlantic slave trade once flourished. By maintaining this drag name in his everyday life, Belize deploys his former performance persona to signify both a personal history of queer cross-dressing as well as the broader history of North American racism. In Belize, Kushner depicts the intuitive or felt sense of a relationship between histories of racial violence, AIDS, and the state's simultaneous aversion to, and erotic courting of, the very abject (often queer) bodies it destroys.[6]

                By doing so, Kushner is able to acknowledge a history of racialised violence, and places it in direct comparison to the body with AIDS, another victim of governmental and policy brutality. This reading seems to suggest that the Black body is one that is sympathetic to the plight of AIDS because it is equivalent to the generational trauma experienced by Black people. Both antiblack racism and AIDS are read as existing in the same realm of state sanctioned violence. We see an example of marginalised disposability when Prior yells at his ex-partner Louis:

There are thousands of gay men in New York City with AIDS and nearly every one of them is being taken care of by…a friend or by… a lover who has stuck by them […] Everyone got that, except me. I got you. Why? What’s wrong with me?[7]

Prior cares for Belize, and Belize cares for Prior, but at this moment, Prior seems to take Belize’s love and support for granted. Prior here does not acknowledge the effort put in by Belize, rather it is a given, which positions Belize as nothing more than what Jay Plum describes as a “faithful friend, surrogate mother, and nurturing caregiver [transforming Belize] into what might be described as a desexed mammy.”[8]

                While Belize may have his man uptown, he is entirely desexed, he is a flamboyant stereotype, the sexually castrated drag faggot. There is a reference to Belize giving Prior a blowjob sometime in the past, but that is the closest that Belize comes to having any sexual agency within the play. A play which has clear sexual politics at its core: in which oral sex is read as heroic, while anal sex is associated with viciousness. Prior’s sex life seems to be made up of sucking Louis’ dick, while Roy Cohn is the character primarily associated with anal fucking. Louis also engages, briefly, in anal sex, but that again is read as punishment for wrongdoing. Even Hannah Pitt, the Mormon mother of one of the characters gets to make out with an angel!  

                The relationship between sex and the medical professional can also be seen in Larry Kramer’s 1985 play, The Normal Heart, a largely autobiographical play about Ned Weeks (a stand in for Kramer), his founding of an AIDS organization modelled on the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and his subsequent ousting from said organization. However, this paper is concerned with the character of Dr Emma Brookner, a medical professional who uses a wheelchair after contracting Polio as a child, and how her body is exploited for theatrical affect. Dr Brookner is based on Dr Linda Laubenstein one of the earliest medical professionals to recognise the emergence of AIDS in North America, and a co-author of the first paper linking AIDS with Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

Emma is someone who “caught [Polio] three months before the Salk vaccine was announced.”[9] She laments that “[nobody] gets Polio anymore.”[10] Here, Dr Brookner’s body operates along two lines. First, as a disabled person, her body becomes a signifier for trust of the inevitable progress of medical research, and discovery. Temporally there is an understanding that a cure is on the way, therefore any requests, such as Ned and Emma’s demand for gay abstinence, are portrayed as temporary and brief measures. By ignoring these short-lived measures, the gay body that continues to embrace gay sex, even gay sex that is deemed safe, becomes pathologized as an act of attempted suicide at best, widespread wilful murder at worst.

                Second, we are expected to read Dr Brooker’s body as a medical expert, and therefore a body to trust and place faith within. This doesn’t seem to correctly mesh with the history of AIDS activism, which was rightfully sceptical of medical discourse and institutes during the peak of crisis following a protracted history of research failings. Unlike the examining doctor who is representative of the wider medical institute, or Hiram Keebler who represents the failings of governmental bureaucracy under Ed Koch, Emma is the medical voice of reason. Through this dramatic sleight of hand, Kramer is able to write a play about AIDS and what he sees as the only safe way forward, as not coming from himself. Rather he is a messenger, who is only following the advice of a medical professional. And you wouldn’t shoot the messenger, would you?

                 In portraying Dr Brookner, Kramer ensures that we are able to read her as a body that is capable of engaging in sex. An early conversation between Ned and Emma goes as follows:

Ned: […] You don’t know what it’s been like since the sexual revolution hit this country. It’s been crazy, gay or straight.

Emma: What makes you think I don’t know?[11]

                We are encouraged to question our biases of the sex lives of disabled folk, not because it humanises Emma, instead because it frames her as a sexual agent and someone who can understand the option of celibacy by choice. While Ryan Murphy eventually directed The Normal Heart movie, it was Barbra Streisand who first had her eyes on adapting, directing and starring in the film version. The feud between Kramer and Streisand is a fun bit of queer history, with both exchanging barbs as to why the Streisand version was never made. I think one of the most interesting factors was that Streisand wanted to expand Dr Brookner’s role within the narrative, with a plotline following her love life. Though, supposedly, Kramer did not want this, thinking it would decrease the forcefulness of the message he was trying to convey. I could say, of course Streisand wanted a meatier role for herself, but that would be passé. Rather it is important that we interrogate Kramer’s reluctance to expand Brooker’s role in the story. How would Ned Week’s story of love in the time of plague exist alongside Brookner’s tale of love (also in a time of plague, but straight so therefore safe)? By restricting the role of the medical professional there is no distraction from the pedagogical nature of The Normal Heart: gay men are dying because of their refusal to give up (anal) sex.

                In Falsettos the intersections of Black, woman, and medical professional – all of which I have discussed above - collide in the character of Dr Charlotte. This role had initially been played by a white woman, and the show itself was intended for an all-white cast. Evidence of this can be seen in the 1995 Samuel French script in which the song ‘Racquetball’ – which is a part of the song ‘A Day in Falsettoland’ on the 2016 Broadway Cast recording – ends with Jason commenting on the unbridled optimism of the adult characters in the show with the line “You people are so white.”[12]

However, I think for most Theatre Queens, Dr Charlotte is Tracie Thoms, who you probably know from Rent, but if this talk has been marketed correctly, you definitely know from The Devil Wears Prada. Following the Broadway revival there was a US tour during which Dr Charlotte was played by Bryonha Marie Parham, and the first London production which was performed off-West End in which Charlotte was played by Gemma Knight-Jones. Dr Charlotte is a character who since revival has canonically become a Black woman, meaning she now performs in an intersection of tropes that we associate with the depiction of women, medical professionals and Black people in the theatre of HIV/AIDS.

What we now know of as Falsettos was originally three separate one-act productions, which have been merged to form a singular, two-act musical. In Trousers was a musical which was expanded to become two quasi-sequels, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland. March became Act 1, while Falsettoland became Act 2 which takes place in 1981. It is only in Act 2 in which Dr Charlotte appears, along with her lover, Cordelia. I think it is important to note that neither of these characters are named within the musical itself, which is jarring because the musical’s opening number involves the four male characters introducing themselves by name. Trina, the only woman in Act 1, isn’t named until about half-way through the act. Without looking at auxiliary materials we only know three things about Dr Charlotte: she is a lesbian, lives next door to Marvin, and is a doctor. While we may think of Falsettos as an AIDS play, it’s important to note that AIDS isn’t introduced until halfway through Act 2 with Dr Charlotte’s number ‘Something Bad is Happening’. The song begins with Charlotte describing her personality as understood from an outside perspective: “People might think I’m very dykish, I make a big stink when I must – but god damn; […] If I’m a bitch – well, I am what I am.”[13] When played by a white woman, Charlotte is a militant lesbian; the role changes when performed by Tracie Thoms, or any of the Black women who follow her. Charlotte now inhabits the stereotype of the Angry Black Woman. The reference to La Cage is no longer only a campy reference to the audience, it also positions Charlotte in the tradition of glorious Black divas such as Gloria Gaynor. However, the ways in which Charlotte describes herself in this song are incompatible to the character as it is portrayed on stage. Like Belize before her, the Black Dr Charlotte seems to understand the position she plays within this world of white people

In the reprise of “Something Bad” Charlotte describes HRLV-III as “something that kills. Something contagious. Something that spreads from one man to another.”[14] This continues the lineage of AIDS on stage being something that concerns sexually active gay men, bisexual men, and men who have sex with men. Of the disposable bodies we have discussed, Charlotte is positioned as the safest: while Belize is desexed he still occupies the world of gay male sex; Dr Brookner is portrayed as sexually active, though her orientation isn’t discussed so it is likely that audiences would read her as a normative heterosexual; Charlotte is a lesbian, and as such would not be likely to engage in penile intercourse. This of course erases the bodies of women with penises, but we are discussing plays that were deemed appealing for mainstream (ie. straight) audiences, so I’m offering the safest (ie. most normative) possible reading.

The quote from the title of this talk comes from William M. Hoffman’s play As Is which was produced on Broadway in 1985. The play opens, and closes, with narration from an unnamed Hospice Worker, an ex-nun, who now volunteers taking care of the dying. In her own words, she took this role to “bear witness to dramatic deathbed conversions, see shafts of light emanating from heaven, multicolored auras hovering above the heads of those in the process of expiring.”[15] The play ends with Rich and Saul – a serodiscordant couple - deciding to have sex on Rich’s deathbed. It’s important to note that, unlike many AIDS plays, As Is does not end in a death, but Rich’s admittance to a hospice suggests his life does not extend much longer past the final curtain. It is the Hospice Worker who closes the “fucking curtain,”[16] a literal curtain behind which fucking can occur. It is the Hospice Worker then who closes the play:

I don’t know anymore. Sometimes I think I’m an atheist. No. Not really. It’s more that I’m angry at God: how can He do this? I have a lot of denial, I am angry, and I bargain with God. I have a long way to go towards acceptance. Maybe it’s time for me to resign. Maybe I’m suffering from burnout.[17]

The relationship between Rich, the Person with AIDS, and the Hospice Worker is one which frequently played out in the media. As Cindy Patton notes in her book Inventing AIDS:

Then the media stepped in to coopt the new discourse by transforming the lived experience of people with AIDS and their friends into human interest stories which performed the pathetic absolution necessary to a society complicit in wholesale slaughter (and that performance is not unique to AIDS). The valiant victim and the selfless volunteer were lauded in the media. But the person with AIDS died nevertheless, and this too was necessary; people with AIDS must in the end always be silenced, their words given over to an expiating hermeneutic.

They were all queers, outcasts, and they would not shut up, so they had to die.[18]

What we see in these early AIDS dramas that gained a wider audience is the separation of person with AIDS, volunteer, and general public, with little attempt to acknowledge that often these experiences would intersect, with PWAs manning helplines, becoming crisis counsellors, and generally participating in community action.

The productions I have discussed so far were written during the peak of the crisis as we understand it through the current cultural consciousness, so it may be tempting to compartmentalise these trends as something historic, something that happened back then, but would not happen today. The final play that I will be discussing this evening is Matthew Lopez’s 2018 play The Inheritance. The Inheritance found success during its run at the Young Vic Theatre, transferred to the West End, and then transferred to Broadway in which it was performing up until Covid necessitated the closure of theatres.

                Though The Inheritance is a loose adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End, critics have been much quicker to draw comparisons between The Inheritance and Angels in America, after all, both are two-part epics, set in New York, exploring themes of memory, community and identity. In a recent article on her concerns about the lauding of The Inheritance as a modern classic, Virginia Anderson shares her fear that:

The Inheritance will continue to reinforce a history that relegates conversations about the history and future of HIV to the 1980s, to New York City, even to white gay men. Surely, this history is vitally important, but it’s not the only history of the AIDS epidemic and it’s not the only present and future.[19]

                I can’t help agree with Anderson’s assertion here, The Inheritance is self-aware that it is speaking from a place of privilege, in fact, questions arise about the nature of privilege throughout the play. But, as was the case with Kushner before, acknowledging the issue is not the same as tackling the issue. The Inheritance is predominantly a play about white people, specifically white men. While the cast does feature one woman, she appears towards the end of Part 2, and is on stage for less than twenty minutes. In the Young Vic and West End productions this piece of stunt casting was given to Vanessa Redgrave known for her role as Mrs Wilcox in the Merchant Ivory adaptation of Howards End. Her role in that film is also mentioned within the play, which roused cheers from the seemingly predominantly queer audience of the performance I attended. The play follows the life of Eric Glass from his rent-controlled apartment overlooking Central Park, the dissolution of his relationship with Toby Young, and his marriage to the billionaire Republican Henry Wilcox. The play is presented as a story in the process of being written by a group of young men who take the roles within the story, under the guidance of Morgan, a nickname given to E.M. Forster. Morgan describes Eric thus: “Not only was he the bravest person he knew, he also possessed the ability to change the world to an extent far greater than Toby or any of the countless brilliant people with whom he surrounded himself.”[20] Eric becomes exceptional, but what makes him exceptional is difficult to define; for Eric is the picture of homonormativity. One of the early scenes between Eric and his then-boyfriend Toby is a sex scene, in which queer sexual deviancy is made acceptable due to its close relationship to gay male social assimilation. In the throes of passion Eric say: “It’s okay Toby. Cum inside me. Yeah, Toby. Yeah. God I love you. I love you. I love you. God, I wanna get married.”[21] Bareback sex is sanitised because it is between two seemingly sexual-healthy adults who are in close proximity to the heterosexual social contract of marriage. The subject of breeding arises prominently two other times during the course of the play. In one instance, it is suggested that a character, Adam, falsifies his almost seroconversion from a gangbang in Prague as a way of highlighting that though he is wealthy, he has experienced hardships. The second scene involves a sex worker named Leo, who falls under the wing of Toby, and his becoming seroconverted during a period of drug-use and group sex on Fire Island. It must be stressed that all these characters are white; both Adam and Leo are played by Samuel H. Levine, in an act of theatrical doubling. But Leo’s seroconversion is read as a consequence of sexual and medicated freedom, and while Leo does engage in drug use, he assumes that he became seroconverted from being bred by a host of faceless men on Fire Island. The play ensures that we don’t read Leo’s plight as that of someone who in anyway deserved HIV, he was merely a victim of unfettered queerness.

                So, what of Eric’s other friends? Perhaps the most important in regards to this conversation is Tristan “a gay, HIV-positive black man who lives in America.”[22] And a physician to boot. Tristan may be HIV+ but the route of transmission is never shared, because the moment of transmission occurred outside of the temporal placement of the play; the hows and whens and whys do not matter, all that matters is the existence of HIV antibodies within Tristan’s body, allowing him to become a spokesperson for people with HIV. In the quote shown on the slide, we see HIV becomes a metaphor for the state of America under Trump. Voiced by a Black man, this speech is one of righteous fury, but in fact separates that current political moment from the racialised history of America. It becomes a form of liberal catharsis, which is itself a trope within HIV/AIDS theatre.

We see in The Inheritance what Nishant Shihani describes as a “rightful demand for state accountability [that] slips easily into normative discourse of self-empowerment and management.”[23] A conversation early in the play asks what a group of economically-comfortable men in Manhattan must do for “our community now that the people in this room have mostly gotten what they need from the Obama years[.]”[24] The answers come immediately:

Jasper Now let’s talk about trans rights. Let’s talk about bullying in schools.

Tristan Let’s talk about addiction, about the resurgence of HIV among gay men of color.

Jason 1 Let’s talk about suicide, violence, homelessness. These are the things that will require just as much of our attention as marriage equality did and these are the things we have the chance to make some real progress on once Clinton is elected.[25]

The exchange elicited some uncomfortable laughter from the audience who knew that the liberal optimism displayed during this conversation was soon to be dashed. These subjects are acknowledged, they are “talked about,” but no further than the duration of this conversation or when in dialogue with Henry Wilcox. This is a play that looks backwards, envisioning an idealisation of activism, particularly AIDS activism, not realising that activists are needed today, right now. However these needs are suspended, to be picked up during an undisclosed future when better footing exists. When Eric says “the world will spin without me[,]”[26] he harkens backwards to one of the most famous lines in Angels in America when Prior says “The world only spins forwards.”[27] But that itself harkens backwards, but maybe not as far, at this moment Prior is paraphrasing Belize, who says “But see that’s just not how it goes, the world doesn’t spin backwards.”[28] The theatre of AIDS is built upon, but not of, the words and actions of Black bodies, and we must acknowledge the harm we are doing to ourselves and we are doing to our communities when we privilege certain narratives as groundbreaking, or brave, when what we are doing is wilfully forgetting the possibility of a history and present that has and does exist.

So where do we go from here? One thing I really hope I have done is left you feeling unfulfilled; this talk was designed to be a whirlwind tour through five different AIDS plays, and hopefully I have presented an accessible introduction into the world of HIV/AIDS theatre. My goal was to provoke questions and ideas, and potentially offer an insight into common tropes that may allow us to think more critically about the queer narratives we consume, the historical moments they are propping up, and the potential impact of historicising queer struggles. The field of HIV/AIDS theatre is underrepresented in the research of HIV/AIDS writing and culture texts, and it’s an area I want to see more voices contribute to, especially voices of women, the voices of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, and the voices of Black and Global Majority peoples.

I am not suggesting we should seek to form a Rainbow Canon of HIV/AIDS theatre, as canons typically enforce alternate structures of power under the guise of representational progress, but rather we should explore the factors that led to the current canon formation, and the various reasons why we fall back on these tropes, and the privilege and safety that comes from approaching these topics at a distance. AIDS is gay history, but it is also the contemporary queer moment, and our approaches to nostalgia within theatre depicting HIV/AIDS only serves to create a tie that is safe, inoculating us from the past and our potential to do something in the now. 

Thank you all for listening. I look forward to all your thoughtful questions that I will have difficulty in answering.  

[1] Dion Kagan, Positive Images: Gay Men & HIV/AIDS in the Culture of ‘Post-Crisis’ (London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 2018), p.220.  

[2] Kushner, Tony, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes (New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 2013), p.227.

[3] Ibid., p.65.

[4] Ibid., p.105.

[5] Ibid., p.148.

[6] Ramzi Fawaz, ‘”I Cherish My Bile Duct as Much as Any Other Organ”: Political Disgust and the Digestive Life of AIDS in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America’, GLQ, 21.1 (2015), pp.121-152, p.122    

[7] Kushner, p.220

[8] Plum, Jay, “Attending Walt Whitman High: The Lessons of Pomo Afro Homos’ Dark Fruit” in African American Performance and Theatre History: A Critical Reader, ed. Harry J. Elam Jr. and David Krasner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001),pp. 235-248, p.236-7.

[9] Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me (New York: Grove Press, 2000), p.73.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., p.24.

[12] William Finn and James Lapine, Falsettos (New York: Samuel French, 1995), p.116.

[13] Ibid., p.124.

[14] Ibid., p.144.

[15] William M. Hoffman, As Is (New York: Dramatists Play Service Inc., 1990), p.13.

[16] Ibid., p.57.

[17] Ibid., p.58

[18] Cindy Patton, Inventing AIDS (New York: Routledge, 1990), p.130-1.  

[19] Virginia Anderson, ‘Selective Memory and Other Perils of Representing AIDS on the Twenty-first-century Broadway Stage’, Somatechnics, 10.2 (2020), pp,254-261, p.259.

[20] Matthew Lopez, The Inheritance (London: Faber & Faber, 2018), p.51.

[21] Ibid., p.32.

[22] Ibid., p.234.

[23] Nishant Shahani, ‘How to Survive the Whitewashing of AIDS: Global Pasts, Transnational Futures’, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 3.1 (2016), pp.1-33, p.14.

[24] Lopez, p.85.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid., p.135.

[27] Kushner, p.290.

[28] Ibid., p.175.

Sources

Primary

Finn, William & Lapine, James, Falsettos (New York: Samuel French, 1995)

Hoffman, William M., As Is (New York: Dramatists Play Service Inc., 1990)

Kramer, Larry, The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me (New York: Grove Press, 2000)

Kushner, Tony, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes (New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 2013)

Lopez, Matthew, The Inheritance (London: Faber & Faber, 2018)

Secondary

Books

Castiglia, Christopher and Christopher Reed, If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012)

Collins, Patricia Hill, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (New York: Routledge, 2004)

Crimp, Douglas, Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002)

Geary, Adam M., Anti Black Racism and the AIDS Epidemic (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Kagan, Dion, Positive Images: Gay Men & HIV/AIDS in the Culture of ‘Post-Crisis’ (London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 2018)

Patton, Cindy, Inventing AIDS (New York: Routledge, 1990)

Plum, Jay, “Attending Walt Whitman High: The Lessons of Pomo Afro Homos’ Dark Fruit” in African American Performance and Theatre History: A Critical Reader, ed. Harry J. Elam Jr. and David Krasner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 235-248

Román, David, Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998)

Schulman, Sarah, Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998)

Journal Articles

Anderson, Virginia, ‘Selective Memory and Other Perils of Representing AIDS on the Twenty-first-century Broadway Stage’, Somatechnics, 10.2 (2020), 254-261

Dean, Tim, ‘Medicated intimacies: Raw sex, Truvada, and the biopolitics of chemoprophylaxis’, Sexualities, 18.1-2 (2015), 224-246

Fawaz, Ramzi, ‘”I Cherish My Bile Duct as Much as Any Other Organ”: Political Disgust and the Digestive Life of AIDS in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America’, GLQ, 21.1 (2015), 121-152  

Gill-Peterson, Jules, ‘Haunting the Queer Spaces of AIDS: Remembering ACT UP/New York and an Ethics for an Endemic’, GLQ, 19.3 (2013), 279-300

Newtown, George, ‘Sex, Death, and the Drama of AIDS’, The Antioch Review, 47.2 (1989), 209-222

Román, David, ‘Not-about-AIDS’, GLQ, 6.1 (2000), 1-28

Shahani, Nishant, ‘How to Survive the Whitewashing of AIDS: Global Pasts, Transnational Futures’, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 3.1 (2016), 1-33