Starring Jonathan Wilson. Written by Larry Kramer. Directed by Joel Greenberg. Buddies in Bad Times, to Nov. 18.
Ned Weeks is an angry, loudmouthed pain in the ass. And thank God for that. Ned, Larry Kramer’s fictional alter ego in his 1985 docudrama The Normal Heart, is the kind of relentless crusader that was necessary to bring attention to the nascent AIDS epidemic. In the powerhouse Studio 180/Buddies in Bad Times revival, Jonathan Wilson plays Ned with a barely contained rage that nails home the frustration of gay men at a time when HIV/AIDS was a horrifying mystery, and the homophobic authorities refused to do anything about it. Wilson’s is only one of several superb performances in this remount of last season’s hit production, which boasts almost all of the original cast members. Under Joel Greenberg’s intense direction, they recapture the urgency, bewilderment, and heartbreak of that era as if it only happened yesterday.