ACTING OUT Curtains up on ‘The Missing Generation,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’
One is an intimate dance performance revolving around AIDS survivors; another is a national touring show featuring a gay actor. “The Missing Generation,” debuting at 7 Stages, and “Beauty and the Beast,” courtesy of Broadway Across America, are two drastically different pieces of theater hoping to bring in crowds.
Dancer/choreographer Sean Dorsey— who is transgender—and his acclaimed troupe Sean Dorsey Dance are bringing “The Missing Generation” to town. Through dance, theater and storytelling, it looks at how AIDS affected an entire generation of the gay and transgender community in the 1980s and 1990s.
Dorsey started his research when he was in Atlanta for his show, “The Secret History of Love,” in 2014. With that, he spoke to LGBT elders about growing up gay. He was surprised by what he learned.
“I was struck at the absence of an entire generation of people who I couldn’t capture or express,” he says.
When Dorsey started, he knew he wanted to do archival research. “I wanted to do oral history with people who lived there at the time of the AIDS epidemic. What I learned is that this project was different than what I conceived. I was moved to make not just a beautiful dance show, but a vehicle to give voice to long-time survivors of the epidemic,” says Dorsey. “What history we do have is tiny, not taught to other generations. We don’t talk at all in our culture about those people who are living with this unimaginable mask of grief at a time of extraordinary discrimination from the government.”
The piece debuted last year in San Francisco, the troupe’s home, and has crisscrossed the country.
As part of his research, Dorsey talked to people both HIV negative and positive, some who’ve been living with the disease more than 30 years, as well as health care workers and activists. Especially important was to bring in transgender voices and discuss their particular struggles.
Among those in Atlanta he talked to are “Dream Boy” author Jim Grimsley, trans activists Dee Dee Chamblee and Cheryl Courtney-Evans, and Gert McMullin, who
January 22, 2016