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Loyola Theatre opens season with HIV/AIDS docudrama 'Patient A'

Loyola press release - September 3, 2013

The Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at Loyola University New Orleans kicks off the 2013-14 season with Lee Blessing’s “Patient A,” a dramatic exploration of the first-known case of clinical transmission of HIV. Directed by Loyola theatre arts professor C. Patrick Gendusa, the play will run in the Lower Depths Theater in the Communications/Music Complex Sept. 27, 28 and Oct. 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 2 p.m.

The Oct. 3 production will include a post-performance discussion with a panel of local community members. Panelists include: Dr. Mit Seiler, oncologist and NO/AIDS board member; Vicki Weeks, executive director of Belle Reve New Orleans; Daniel Rewis and Jerome Hazen, residents of Project Lazarus; Kerry Hughes, founder of the New Orleans AIDS Action Project; and Dr. Jeanette Gallagher, a former dental hygienist.

Based on a true story, the play examines issues of testing, discrimination and personal responsibility against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in America. In the late 1980s, Kimberly Ann Bergalis was one of six patients infected with HIV after visiting David J. Acer, a dentist who had AIDS. Commissioned by her family, “Patient A” recounts Bergalis’ case of contracting AIDS.

As the play unfolds, Blessing actually becomes part of the story as an essential observer. The on-stage encounters between Bergalis and Blessing reflect both their real-life relationship and their respective characters in the play. The storyline continues with the introduction of a third character, Matthew, who represents the immeasurable number of gay men who have suffered in the AIDS epidemic. “Patient A” spotlights the media and political spectacles surrounding Bergalis’ case while also explaining the three characters’ struggles and feelings about themselves and each other.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for Loyola faculty, staff, students and seniors. For tickets and information, visit montage.loyno.edu or call 504-865-2074. Free parking is available in the West Road Garage located on West Road and accessible from St. Charles Avenue.

For more information, contact Jess Brown in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5882.

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