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Raft of the Medusa

Raft of the Medusa
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Joe Pintauro
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 64
Pub. Date: 1992
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822213141
ISBN-13: 9780822213147
Cast Size: 3 female, 10 male

About the Play:

Raft of the Medusa is a full-length drama by Joe Pintauro. A young woman joins an HIV positive support group for the first time and learns that what ties them together also tears them apart. Raft of the Medusa is a taut, deeply powerful drama that presents a microcosm of those affected by AIDS in the earlier days of the crisis through the device of a diverse therapy group clashing, confronting, and comforting each other as they work through their emotions about their devastating diagnosis.

Raft of the Medusa takes place 10 years into the AIDS epidemic, centering on a weekly support group session of people living with AIDS, where the members discover the disease they share can divide as effectively as it conquers. The members of the group are a diverse lot, including homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals, conservatives and liberals, black, white and Hispanic, rich and poor. Some of them are philosophical, some are angry, and some resigned. As the evening's discussion progresses they discover that one member, Larry, a reporter, does not have AIDS, but is tape recording the sessions for an article. They attack him verbally and physically until Nairobi, a homeless woman in the group, stabs Larry with a dirty syringe, infecting him with the virus. The others are stunned and the reporter is hysterical, until Nairobi reveals that the needle was a clean one and that she would not give the disease to her worst enemy. The other members of the group then react with a kind of awe, asking the reporter what it feels like to experience the miracle of a "cure." The quick trauma brings them together, reaching for their own comfort while they search for unattainable answers. The play is named after Theodore Gericault's magnificent painting "The Raft of the Medusa" that hangs in the Louvre, which depicts a true incident: the survivors of the wreck of the ship Medusa, some dead, some dying, some waving their shirts in a vain effort to attract the attention of a passing ship. It's a terrific metaphor for the subject of Joe Pintauro's play – those modern castaways, the victims of AIDS: many not seen, many ignored.

Raft of the Medusa premiered in 1990 at Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art in New York City before being presented to considerable acclaim at Greenwich Village's Minetta Lane Theatre in 1991. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres in many other cities including Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Montreal. The English premiere by the London Gay Theatre Company at The Gate in London in 1995.

Cast: 3 female, 10 male

What people say:

"Raft of the Medusa … is as disturbing as it is moving. Raft of the Medusa is an absorbing work that careens from fierce anger to unabashed sentimentality. The play ultimately strips the alienated characters of their defenses, revealing the bond that is both their curse and their salvation." — Variety

"Joe Pintauro's Raft of the Medusa…grabs, holds, and harrows us with the chilling facts and cold statistics of mortality in the Age of AIDS. The play unquestionably hits home and hits hard." — New York Post

"Nothing less than our mortality is on the line. There are no outs. Even if a play is make believe, the death sentence is palpably real. That's certainly the case with Raft of the Medusa, the new drama by Joe Pintauro...." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Joe Pintauro (1930-2018) was an award-winning American author, poet and prolific playwright in late 20th century New York. A former priest, he graduated from Fordham University in New York City with an M.A. in American Literature before studying Theology for four years at Niagara University. He is the acclaimed author of two novels, several volumes of poetry, and a plethora of plays. He is best known for works such as Raft of the Medusa, Cacciatore, and Men's Lives.

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