Review: As Is at Resurrection Theatre

Showtimes: Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm; Through 10/12; $18-$20; The Wilkerson Theatre, 2509 R St.; (916) 501-6104;
Rated 4.0

Resurrection Theatre caps off its 2019 season with William M. Hoffman’s As Is, a somber look into the AIDS crisis of the late 20th century. Originally performed in 1985, Hoffman’s play was one of the first to shed light on the epidemic and those affected by it during a time when paranoia had reached an all-time high.

Set in the ’80s in New York City, we focus on Rich (Rick Grant-Coons) and Saul (Thomas Dean), who have recently broken up and are in the middle of splitting up their estate. Emotions are running high as the two bicker over furniture and past slights when, suddenly, Rich reveals that he has AIDS.

What follows is a winding narrative that jumps through time and space to explore the different faces affected by AIDS, but frequently returns to the evolving relationship between Rich and Saul.

Where As Is shines is in its empathy for its subjects, especially Rich. Rather than portray him as a blameless victim passively accepting his fate, he faces his terminal illness like any normal person would—angry and terrified.

Through all the ups and downs, Grant-Coons does an excellent job of humanizing Rich and, along with the rest of the cast, breathes life into a story characterized as much by hope as by bleakness.