It was a local connection between Dutch Heetbrink, president of the Edmonds-based Driftwood Players board, and Tony Award-winning playwright Larry Kramer that resulted in permission for the Driftwood Players to present Kramer’s ground-breaking play “The Normal Heart” this Saturday and Sunday in Edmonds.
The play will be performed as a Staged Reading in a limited, 2-day engagement at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, with proceeds benefiting the Seattle Lifelong AIDS Alliance, which provides services and support for those with HIV and AIDs. Individual tickets are $25.
One of “The Normal Heart” performers, Shoreline actor David Alan Morrison, said that Heetbrink first met Kramer many years ago in New York City, when Heetbrink worked on computers and Kramer, an aspiring actor and playwright, was one of his clients. “The Normal Heart” won critical acclaim on Broadway, including a Tony Award, in 1985.
Morrison said that when the play reappeared on Broadway this year, winning a 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, Heetbrink contacted Kramer, asking him if the Driftwood Players could perform it as a fundraiser for local AIDS organizations. Kramer readily agreed.
The performance is a staged reading, meaning the actors have scripts in hand, but it is more choreographed with movement on stage and light blocking, Morrison said.
The Driftwood Players website describes “The Normal Heart” as a “real-life political thriller, as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence.”
Morrison said that viewing the play a quarter-century after it was written gives the audience an opportunity to see the AIDS epidemic “through the lens of hindsight, looking back at what people were thinking and how they behaved.”
Directed by Carissa Meisner Smitt, “The Normal Heart” features — in addition to Morrison — Machelle Allman, Roy Arauz, Terrence Boyd, Keith A. Gehrig, Thomas A. Glass, Robert Hankins and Greg LoProto.
Tickets are available at the Driftwood box office for both Saturday and Sunday shows, and may also be purchased online.