Playwright to dicuss theater and AIDS

Sandra Deer of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta will discuss her conception of the relationship of the theater arts to issues of public policy and how she wrote the play, Let’s Talk About AIDS, at Bates College on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Muskie Archives. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Deer’s talk precedes the performance of her play Let’s Talk About Aids, a musical comedy for young people about raging hormones, romantic fantasy and personal responsibility, which will be performed at Bates on Feb. 3 and 4 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Benjamin Mays Center. Admission is $3. Touring performances are also available for middle schools, junior highs and area youth groups. For tour information, call 786-6257.

“Informative, yet hip,” said the Atlanta-Constitution of the production which explores important facts about sex, pregnancy and AIDS through the use of a mix of humourous and serious music, dance, monologue and skits.

Deer’s plays “So Long on Lonely Street,” Amazing Grace,” “Gal Baby” and her adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” have premiered at the Alliance Theatre where she is an associate artist. These productions have then toured throughout the country. Her latest play for young audiences, The Return of Finn Mac Cool,  a story about the poet William Butler Yeats, will premiere this season at the Alliance.

Among her plays and adaptations for family and young audiences are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Great Expectations,” “Little Women,” “The Snow Queen,” “Don Quixote,” “Pinocchio,” “MacBeth” and “Club Magic.”

A second play concerned with AIDS, Before It Hits Home, by Cheryl West, winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play, will receive its New England premiere under guest director Elizabeth Freydberg at Bates College on Feb. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and on Feb. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. in the Gannett Theater. Tickets will be $6 for general admission and $3 for seniors and students. The play reveals the effects of AIDS on a young African-American jazz musician.

The production of the two plays, as well as the lecture by Deer, are part of “Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities — Understanding AIDS: Compassion, Education, Justice,” a series of events co-sponsored by Bates College and the AIDS Coalition of Lewiston and Auburn.

For further information about advanced ticket sales for either of the plays, call the Schaeffer Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. at 786-6161.

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