“Sometimes I’m so scared I go back on my resolutions: I drink too much, and I smoke a joint, and I find myself at the bars and clubs, where I stand around and watch. They remind me of accounts of Europe during the Black Plague: groping in the dark, dancing till you drop. The New Wave is the corpse look. I’m very frightened and I miss you. Say something, damn it.”
New York City, 1985.
Rich, a young writer who is beginning to find success, is breaking up with his longtime lover, Saul, a professional photographer. However Rich's idyll with his new lover is short-lived when he learns that he has contracted the terrifying new disease AIDS and returns to Saul for sanctuary as he awaits its slow and awful progress.
In a mosaic of brilliantly conceived short scenes, blending humour, poignance and dazzling theatricality, As Is captures the pathos of Rich's relationship with friends and family, the cold impersonality of the doctors and nurses who care for him and the widely diverse aspects of New York's gay community. A heartbreaking and unsparing examination of a deeply felt human relationship shattered by a mindless, destructive disease.
As Is was a revolutionary and groundbreaking play of its time, and remains sadly still urgently relevant – the number of gay and bisexual men being diagnosed with HIV in the UK reached an "all-time high" in 2011 (figures from the Health Protection Agency).
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