Mad Horse will stage groundbreaking play on AIDS

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PORTLAND — Mad Horse Theatre Company will wrap up its 24th season with the American masterpiece “The Normal Heart,” written by American playwright, author and activist Larry Kramer.

 The play will preview on Thursday and Friday, June 3-4, with a gala opening on June 5.

 Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday through June 20 at the Studio Theater at Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave.

 “The Normal Heart” is Kramer’s semi-autobiographical story of his journey to awaken the world to the reality of the AIDS epidemic. Set in New York City between 1981 and 1984, Ned Weeks and his friends are mystified by the swift and merciless disease that is claiming lives in a rapidly escalating health crisis that seems to be taking its greatest toll on the gay community.

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 Ned’s struggle to shine light on the disease and garner public and political support to fight the as-yet-unnamed illness forces him, his associates, friends and lover to ask themselves how far they are willing to go to achieve their goal.

 In 2000, the Royal National Theatre named “The Normal Heart” one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century.

 Admission is $18 in advance; $20 at the door. Students and seniors, $16. Previews and all Thursday performances are pay what you can. For more information, call 730-2389 or visit madhorse.com.

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