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Monday, June 18, 2018

Stigma: review by Graeme McCoubrie

A premiere season of a telling work by writer/director/choreographer Darren Vizer brought us face to face with the Stigma confronting those who are living with HIV. Vizer dedicated Stigma to Ida Buttrose AO. OBE, who was an early pioneer against HIV and AIDS related discrimination.

Many in the community show a complete lack of understanding when confronting those affected, meeting them with prejudice, negative attitude and abuse. Ida Buttrose in a video clip introduction called upon us all to be Stigma Warriors, to work towards eradicating stigma and discrimination.

Director Darren Vizer spent considerable time working with those living with the stigma and created a piece of theatre, while confronting to the uneducated, certainly informative and revealing. Something that the community needed in the understanding of the lives of those living in relationships, workplace discrimination and the very real and powerful consequence they endured with sexual liaisons.

With dialogue, dance, and physical encounters to an intense music score we travelled through a number of real life experiences, heterosexual and gay encounters, sensitively and emotionally portrayed by a team of three, Dan Last, Laura Jane Turner and Alex Duncan.

Among the experiences, a wife finding out her husband was HIV positive and that he had been with many men. A sexual encounter between two males finding out that the partner was HIV positive. Two nude males engaging in unsafe sex much to the alarm of the heterosexual participant, while the performance ended with two nude males in an erogenous dance that left us thinking how we need to accept and be mindful in eradicating the stigma and discrimination of those living with HIV.

Impressive was the music score created by Neddwellyn Jones, known for his “music for slow-dancing insomniacs from outer space”.

Whilst somewhat disturbing in the truth, well devised, exceptional acting and dance, and a lesson to all.
– Review by Graeme McCoubrie

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