04: The Normal Heart

I have always been fond of plays. I’ve watched so many I already lost count. And last night, I was given the chance to attend the press screening of a play titled The Normal Heart at RCBC Plaza.

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer is a story set at NYC, in the 1980’s where Ned Weeks , a writer and a gay activist created an organization mainly focused on spreading awareness about an unidentified disease that seems to be killing an alarming number of gay men. Ned tried to seek help from his brother Ben , a lawyer and the head of one of the most influential law firms in NYC, to fund the organization. Apparently, Ben is quite homophobic and merely gave attention to what Ned is trying to say.

Halfway through the story, Ned falls in love with NY Times writer Felix Turner, and while he’s still on the search for people to help the organization spread awareness about this unknown disease, Ned found out that Felix is infected by the virus. It made Ned fight even harder to contact the mayor and every person who could help them figure out what the virus is and how they could find a cure.

The government has been ignoring them even if they were desperately pleading for them to help them fund the research. Ned and Dr. Emma Brookner was consistently denied of their request. Bruce, one of the organization’s board of directors had a conflict with Ned and showed him a letter about how the organization members wanted to expel Ned from the group, believing that his unstable approach regarding the matter could be a threat to what they are trying to fight for.

Felix died and Ned blames himself for it, lamenting that he did not fight hard enough to have his voice heard.

Bart Guingona as Ned Weeks
Topper Fabregas as Felix Turner
Roselyn Perez as Dr. Emma Brookner
TJ Trinidad as Bruce Niles
Red Concepcion as Tommy Boatwright
Richard Cunanan as Ben Weeks
Nor Domingo as Mickey Marcus
Jed Flores as Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor/Grady/Craig


The play shows how much HIV is being ignored by a lot of people all over the world. Thousands of people have died because of it, and yet it is not given the attention it deserves. The statistics here in the Philippines shows that the number of cases of HIV increases over half every year, from 1 case in 2008 to 20 cases per day in 2015. Anyone can get HIV, and 95% of them are men. Let’s help the production of this play and everyone else spread awareness regarding a virus that imminently kills thousands of people.

– All in all, the play leaves you wondering and amused about how strong people really are and how important it is to fight for something that could change the way people see you. It has an impact where I realized how much we’ve been ignoring most of the important things that we need to face. Each character has portrayed their roles in different amazing ways that makes you wish that the play should have shown more after Felix’s death. As what they’ve said in the play, “We’re looking, but we’re not seeing.” and “We’re hearing, but we’re not listening.”

We all fight our own battles and no matter how big or small it is, the burden is still as heavy as the others. I’ve had my own share of problems and struggles in my life. If you personally know me, you know how much I’ve been through. But amidst all the struggles, almost giving up, and all the crying sessions I’ve had, I’m still thankful that God has given me a life where I’m super healthy, I could live my life a normal person does, and still get to do the things that I want to do. Let’s not make anyone feel worse by judging a person based on the battle they’re fighting. So let us help each other get through struggles and spread awareness about things that could help our society better.

P.S. thank you to miss Mars Callo for my tickets. :)

Sabrina Escoto

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