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Photo Credit :: Promotional
Arts & Entertainment
Rainy Days & Mondays
By Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
August 25, 2006
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For twenty-five years now, AIDS has hung over the lives of gay men like a persistent storm cloud. And during that time, circuit parties, with their emphasis on community, camaraderie, and Dionysian abandon have provided something of an outlet for the grief and loss. Andrew Barnett’s play Rainy Days and Mondays, part of the 10th Annual New York International Fringe Festival highlights the ways in which AIDS and the circuit are bound together in a kind of dance against death. Performed by a quartet of actors and directed by Niegel Smith, the six scenes which comprise Rainy Days juxtapose the bacchanalian circuit parties with the quotidian toll of AIDS on a young urban gay couple. The first circuit party, arguably, was held in Columbus, Ohio in 1986 as an AIDS fund-raiser, and in the ensuing twenty years, numerous circuit parties around the world have raised funds to support local and national organizations in the fight against AIDS. Barnett’s four characters travel from Columbus to Montreal and Miami, to Sydney and Orlando, always partying in their hotel rooms as a family, before heading to the massive parties. The four boys are well-intentioned and well-raised by mostly supportive families, and yet, the role of AIDS in their lives has distanced them from the concerns of mainstream America. Using drugs and humor, in near-equal measure, these four characters search for ways to connect, not only to each other, but to something that might outlive AIDS. In a beautifully-written scene, Brian (well-played by Michael Carbonaro, of recent Another Gay Movie fame) encounters his dead lover, Paul, in a Sydney hotel room, and convinces his two friends to see Paul with him – and the ensuing hysteria attains a transcendent beauty whereby characters and audience willfully suspend disbelief. Just as with circuit parties, there’s more to Rainy Days and Mondays than what first meets the eyes.