Two health-related students in David J. Glass’s new play Like + Science speedily fall into bed collectively and then invest 5 years as well scared to kiss.
It really is 1980s Manhattan and the students, Matt and Jeff (Matt Walker, Jonathan Burke), are gay males researching virology when reports of a terrifying new infection emerge. In this encounter, a sweet health-related mystery from In Vitro Productions, the couple discover themselves at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS crisis, exploring a deadly threat to which they are each vulnerable. Glass sets a ticking clock (the years are marked involving scenes) and asks us to observe the history of a devastating illness, the protests that followed, and the therapeutic advances.
Considering the fact that the 1980s, the genre of plays dramatizing the AIDS epidemic has mainly sought to depict on a human scale a catastrophe that would otherwise appear unfathomable. In Like + Science, Glas returns to the tradition of documentation, detailing the microscopic maneuvers and social consequences of HIV with the schematic precision of a laboratory experiment. (Glass is a senior lecturer in cell biology at Harvard University.) This meticulous drama, which opened Sunday in downtown New York, functions mostly as a chronicle of events, with characters whose facts are superficial and incidental.
Walker and Burke are capable and engaging performers, but surface-level charm is all that the data-saturated dialogue offers. (The push and pull involving them as lovers, hyperinformed by threat but with no chemistry, has the erotic charge of a flyer.) Of the 5 supporting cast members, who play various roles, Imani Pearl Williams brings a welcome presence as the lab student and blind date who every single provide truth bombs like punchlines. Adrian Greensmith and Ryan Knowless make the terror and uncertainty faced by AIDS individuals each palpable and compelling.
Director Allen McLeod’s lively production at least revels in the exciting of the 1980s aesthetic, with flashes of electric pink and blue in lighting and projection design and style by Samuel J. Biondolila and with Camila Deli costumes that are Zoomer catnip. And perhaps “Like + Science” will provide some fundamental education and meals for believed to these who did not survive the epidemic depicted on stage, but just skilled yet another pandemic.
If the coronavirus is the playwright’s claim to timeliness, that context remains just about totally foreclosed till today’s coda attempts to draw a hurried and thin line. At the overall performance I attended, the audience seemed to assume the play was more than just before jumping forward 3 decades. Not that the final scene gives narrative resolutions the relationships involving the characters are hardly searching for any, and the future of scientific study is nevertheless unwritten.
Like + science
Till July six at New York City Center Stage II, Manhattan loveandscienceplay.com. Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes.