From Press Release
Ten Foot Pole Theatre goes RAW at the Toronto Fringe
“Theatrical rabble-rouser” Rob Salerno returns with a shocking, darkly comic drama about HIV and justice
Sex, justice, trust, and vengeance collide in Ten Foot Pole Theatre’s latest assault on the polite and gentle, RAW by Rob Salerno.
Salerno and Toronto newcomer Jason R. Stroud play Stephen and James, two young gay men who meet at a bathhouse and have a hot, steamy, sexual encounter without a condom. But what Stephen doesn’t tell James is that he’s been recently diagnosed as HIV-positive.
A month later, Stephen sends James an anonymous letter warning him to get tested, and when James tests positive, he tracks Stephen down to confront the man he believes has killed him. But what do you say to your killer if given the chance? What can you do?
It’s a violent, sexy, darkly comic, and deeply moving play about the lines of responsibility that bind these two men together.
Salerno was inspired to write RAW by the ongoing legal controversy surrounding the “criminalization of HIV.” Since 1998, hundreds of HIV-positive Canadians have faced charges ranging from aggravated assault to murder for nondisclosure of their sero-status before consensual sex. HIV advocates say this legal regime – currently being studied by the Supreme Court – stigmatizes HIV-positive people and absolves the HIV-negative of their responsibility to protect themselves.
“To what extent does responsibility to ourselves absolve us of responsibility to others?” Salerno asks. “It’s not a “message play” but instead it asks audiences to question their assumptions and beliefs by placing them in the shoes of two men going through an intensely human, personal crisis.”
Ten Foot Pole Theatre has been producing independent original theatre in Toronto since 2007, and RAW will be its fourth premiere at the Toronto Fringe Festival after past hits Balls, Big In Germany, and Fucking Stephen Harper. Ten Foot Pole’s shows have toured to 25 festivals across Canada and in Europe to sell-out crowds, numerous awards, and critical acclaim.
This summer, Ten Foot Pole will be touring four shows to ten Fringe Festivals from Halifax to Victoria, including another world debut, First Day. Playwright Rob Salerno has been called a “theatrical rabble-rouser” by The Globe and Mail’s Kelly Nestruck for his biting satire.
Playwright and director: Rob Salerno
Featuring: Rob Salerno and Jason R. Stroud Design: Karen Elizabeth and George Quan
Venue 9: Robert Gill Theatre – 214 College St (at St. George), 3rd Floor
Fri, July 6 @ 11pm
Sat, July 7 @ 2:45pm
Mon, July 9 @ 8:45pm
Tues, July 10 @ 5pm
Wed, July 11 @ 11:30pm
Fri, July 13 @ 5:45pm
Sat, July 14 @ noon
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.tenfootpole.ca/
Photo by Drasko Bogdanovic