Shades of Disclosure Review - AIDS Anonymous

A Los Angeles-based group, QueerWise comprises writers and spoken word artists from the LGBTQ community. Together, they have developed SHADES OF DISCLOSURE, a compilation of true stories told as honestly as possible by group members about their own experiences being outliers. Some of the group have also been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and discuss their reactions to the diagnosis, their efforts to get past the diagnosis, and their lives with HIV/AIDS.

Christine Papalexis and Cheri Gaulke - Photo by Ed Krieger

 A writer, producer, actor, and director, Michael Kearns conceived and directed “AIDS/US,” a revolutionary 1986 theater work which presented real-life stories told by AIDS patients. Three decades ago, Gary Grossman produced this theater piece. Consistent with their LGBTQ concerns, the two again join hands to present SHADES OF DISCLOSURE. Grossman is the producer, and Kearns helms the work with artistry.

(Foreground) Tristan Scott-Behrends, John Glenn Harding, David Trudell, Randy Gravelle (Background) Cheri Gaulke, Ken Pienkos, Darrell Larson - Photo by Ed Krieger

A heterogeneous group of LGBTQ individuals have come together to tell their stories, each with a sobriquet which summarizes his place in the tale. Thus, real-life characters like The Widower (Randy Gravelle), The Hottie (Austin Humble), The Bisexual (Darrell Larson), The Psychotherapist (Jessie Jacobson), and The Fuckbuddy (David Trudell) share their illuminating testimonials in the fabric woven over time, trials, and tribulations.

Sophie Kim, Jen OConnor, David Trudell, Jessie Jacobson - Photo by Ed Krieger

Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s scenic designs is simple – a living room with lots of places to sit for a large group on a small stage. Derrick McDaniel’s lighting, Nicholas Santiago’s video design, Guillermo Perez’s graphic and program design, and Christopher Moscatiello’s sound serve to highlight and enhance the unfolding anecdotes.

(Foreground) Mason Mahoney, Ken Pienkos, Randy Gravelle, Cheri Gaulke, Darrell Larson, Tristan Scott-Behrends, and Sophie Kim (Background) John Glenn Harding - Photo by Ed Krieger

Resembling an AA or NA meeting, each person has his opportunity to tell his personal narrative. However, in SHADES OF DISCOSURE, there is no anonymity. Each member of the group has actually lived the events, and the audience senses his pain or pleasure and thus becomes part of the emotional life of the narrator. The “plot” of SHADES OF DISCOSURE concerns a confused and questioning 16-year-old youngster who is trying to get a handle on who she is and how she fits into the overall pattern of LBGTQ life. Maybe these heartfelt accounts will help her to better understand and accept life’s realities. The audience is the “fly on the wall” and left to its own opinions, thoughts, and reflections. To an audience weaned on reality TV, SHADES OF DISCLOSURE will probably sound familiar.

(Foreground) Austin Humble and Christine Papalexis - Photo by Ed Krieger

SHADES OF DISCOSURE runs through February 25, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 ½ North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. For information and reservations, call 213-761-7061 or go online.   

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