Foray into the murderous years of AIDS, Never wipe tears without gloves offers a touching portrait of this hecatomb which claimed 30 million lives during the 1980s.
On display at Trident until 1is April, the theatrical adaptation of Jonas Gardell’s novel, by Véronique Côté, succeeds in transporting us with realism to this dark period and to the spirit of sexual freedom of that time.
Never wipe tears without gloves follows Rasmus, 19, who arrives in Stockholm and a group of friends in search of freedom, love and happiness, gathered around the very colorful Paul.
Rasmus will meet Benjamin and fall in love with this young man stuck in the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the same time, an unidentified virus dubbed “gay cancer” spreads and begins to wreak havoc within the community.
The work directed by Alexandre Fecteau, from the collective We are here, is a 3:30 show including an intermission. A duration which may, at first glance, seem insurmountable to overcome, but which is not at all. We pass through easily.
In addition to delving into the intimacy of these characters affected and affected by HIV, we find elements of narration that trace the key moments led by homosexuals. Moments sometimes filled with frustration in the face of intransigence and certain clichés of the time.
Olivier Arteau and Maxime Beauregard-Martin excel in the roles of Rasmus and Benjamin. Arteau delivers a very strong moment before the intermission against his parents played by Hugues Frenette and Érika Gagnon. Everyone plays well. We believe in.
Special mention to Maxime Robin who slips into the skin of the flamboyant Paul. He delivers a huge performance as this man who is the focal point of this little community that stands together through hardship.
Alexandre Fecteau’s staging is successful with a beautiful use of the scenic space and representations of coffins used in multiple ways. We may have overused the water falling from the sky and gathering on the stage. A water linked to the carnage that pours on the shoulders of this community.
A pianist and a string trio, on stage, interpret a soundtrack around the concerto in my mineur by Felix Mendelssohn. A presence that we see more and more and which greatly enhances the theatrical experience.
The subject may, at first glance, seem heavy, but the humor is present throughout the piece. We are not only in the drama.
Medicine has evolved and the HIV virus, which killed 40 million, is no longer, 40 years later, so deadly. Never wipe tears without gloves is a successful return to a not so distant past, which is not necessarily known to everyone and shows the solidarity of a community.