The UK premiere of Steven Deitz’s acclaimed AIDS-era two-hander Lonely Planet transfers to the West End to coincide with this year’s London Pride. Adding to the month of Pride events, producers have announced a series of LGBTQ-related post-show discussions at Trafalgar Studios, as well as free HIV self-tests.
This year’s Pride in London month commences on Saturday 9 June and culminates with the annual Pride parade on Saturday 7 July. Closely overlapping, Lonely Planet runs at Trafalgar Studios 2 from 12 June to 7 July 2018, with a press night on 14 July.
It’s the 1980s. There is no internet and mobile phones are a rarity. A photo appears at a local store of a person’s torso with lesions all over. This is how people became aware of an unknown virus which ended up decimating the gay community. The moment you realise you’ve contracted this disease, it’s just too late. How would you react if you thought you might have a life-threatening disease? Would you want to know?
Focusing on the friendship between the distancing Jody and the ever-imaginative Carl, Lonely Planet is a moving, funny and intimate play that focuses on individuals’ struggle to come to terms with illness, their own mortality and the stigma associated with AIDS. Alexander McMorran and Aaron Vodovoz reprise their performances as Jody and Carl, directed by Ian Brown.
Steven Dietz‘s two-hander had its world premiere, at the height of the AIDS crisis, in 1993 in Chicago suburb Evanston, Illinois, before its New York opening in 1994. This West End premiere season of Lonely Planet is sponsored by BioLytical and UK partner Pasante, who manufacture and distribute INSTI self-test kits.
Lonely Planet runs from 12 June to 7 July 2018 at London’s Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. Performances are Monday to Saturdays at 7.45pm, with Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £20-£30. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Throughout Pride month during the run of Lonely Planet, a series of seven post-show discussions will take place with leading HIV experts and LGBTQ rights advocates following performances at Trafalgar Studios 2.
Friday 15 June
In conversation with Jonathan Blake, actor, gay rights activist and one of the first people to be diagnosed with HIV in the UK. When he was diagnosed, Black was told he would die within three months – he’s now been living with AIDS for more than 35 years.
Tuesday 19 June
Director Ian Brown in conversation with 56 Dean Street Clinic’s David Stuart and Patrick Cash. Stuart is a researcher, policy-maker, educator, writer and lecturer on the issues of sexual wellbeing/culture, substance use and HIV, and currently manages the ChemSex support programmes at this leading London sexual health clinic. Writer and journalist Cash is patient champion at the clinic.
Friday 22 June
In conversation with 56 Dean Street Clinic’s Leigh Chislett and Remziye Kunelaki. Chislett has first-hand experience as a nurse working with AIDS patients during the 1980s. She’s now Dean Street’s clinic manager and producer of the documentary AIDS: Doctors and Nurses Tell Their Stories. Kunelaki is lead psychosexual therapist at Dean Street as well as Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Tuesday 26 June
In conversation with Dr Mike Youle, Dr Michael Brady and Yusef Azad. Youle, a clinical researcher specialising in HIV treatment, publicised the concept of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP). Brady is a sexual health and HIV consultant and medical director of the Terrence Higgins Trust. Azad is director of strategy for the National AIDS Trust.
Friday 29 June
In conversation with Dr Rupert Whitaker. A doctor and co-founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Whittaker is also one of Europe’s longest-surviving people with HIV.
Tuesday 3 July
Cast members Aaron Vodovoz and Alexander McMorran and the Lonely Planet crew discuss the production and creative process.
Friday 6 July
In conversation with Rebecca Tallon-De Havilland. An author, sexual health/HIV advocate and business person, Tallon-De Havilland was also the first Irish person to person to have gender reassignment surgery in 1989.
Take the test
With a single drop of blood, the INSTI HIV Self Test provides instant results and is over 99% accurate. Sponsors BioLytical and Pasante have provided free self-tests for those encouraged to take them as part of the post-show discussions.