Arbeit Opera Theatre (AOT) and LOFTrecital’s World AIDS Day event on December 1 at LUSH is an evening of remembrance and awareness inspired by musical stories centered around the AIDS crisis.
The production will feature the Midwest premiere of Mark Campbell and Marisa Michelson’s chamber opera The Other Room alongside monologues from Ricky Ian Gordon and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.
The Other Room is a 30-minute musical monodrama set in 1990 in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood during the AIDS crisis. Lena, an out lesbian and visual artist, has come to the apartment of Steve, her best friend, to assist him with his suicide. While Steve has taken the necessary dosage of Seconal in his bedroom (the “other room”), Lena waits for it to take effect, knowing that she will have to help him along if it doesn’t work completely. While she waits, she works on an abstract painting of the tree outside Steve’s window and muses on their friendship; their early days when they went to clubs together, the sudden change in their lives when Steve became sick, their engagement in political activism and finally to this day, when their profound bond is being tested by Steve’s choice.
This production will feature Victoria Vargas in the leading role with James Barnett, pianist and music director; Rebeccah Parker Downs, cello; David Radamés Toro, stage director; with a live in-person talk-back with Librettist Mark Campbell following the performance.