Anyone who survived the deadly HIV plague years of the ’80s, when the best and brightest of the arts community were wiped out by the disease, can’t help but be moved by the pathos of playwright Evelina Fernández’s AIDS melodrama. While the play’s urgency might have diminished somewhat in the intervening years of antiretroviral successes, director José Luis Valenzuela’s restaging of the Latino Theater Company’s acclaimed, 2002 production has lost none of its rousing panache or theatrical luster. Sal López reprises his tour de force performance as Moises, a flamboyant theater director drifting in and out of consciousness on his deathbed in 1995. He spends his lucid moments planning his final exit scene in a party to be attended by his close associates, which include his lifelong friend, gay hairdresser, Martin (the excellent Danny de la Paz), best straight friend/writing partner, Eddie (Geoffrey Rivas), and Eddie’s wife, Alice (Lucy Rodriguez). Moises’ less-coherent spells are spent in phantasmagoric dialogues with his conscience and drag-queen alter ego, Lupe (Ralph Cole Jr. in a showstopping performance), who belts out disco dance hits in between haranguing Moises about coming clean with his ex-wife, Raquel (Fernández), on the circumstances surrounding their 15-year-old breakup. A first-rate production design, including François-Pierre Couture’s evocative lights, Nikki Delhomme’s Mackie-inspired gowns and Christopher Ash’s expressionist-surrealist set, underscores Fernández’s Eros-trumps-conventional–morality theme with elegance and eloquence. Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat. 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru May 30. (213) 489-0994, ext. 107, thelatc.org. A Latino Theater Company Production.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: April 29. Continues through June 27, 2010
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