ACT­ING OUT Cur­tains up on ‘The Miss­ing Gen­er­a­tion,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’

GA Voice - - Faith & Religion -

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

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