By Paul Rudnick

Directed by Paul Giuliani and Jamie England

Rudnick's self-described "play about love, death, and wisecracks" takes place at the height of the AIDS crisis, when taking a leap of faith to be in a relationship seems anything but comedic.

Jeffrey, played by Dave Durbin, has sworn off sex and, subsequently, relationships as a way to stay uninfected and unaffected by AIDS. He is met with the obvious challenges such an ascetic life presents, but being surrounded by people whose pact to live life fully and hopefully is what leads him to question his decision. Shonn Northam and Thomas McClurg play Darius and Sterling, Jeffrey's best friends and poster boys for enduring relationships. Steve, played by Paul Giuliani, is the biggest threat to Jeffrey's moratorium on sex, and Jamie England foils Jeffrey's paranoia in a variety of roles, from Mother Teresa to a game show hostess. Rounding out the cast are William Bolz, Bill Chappie, Terry Cremin, Theodore Hohman, and Khaldun Mohamed, all playing multiple roles.

Northam and McClurg serve as producers. Curtis Rockwell, John Smith, Stephanie Brassington, and Kevin Green provide lighting, scenic, costume, and sound designs respectively. Tony Sheehan is Stage Manager.

Jeffrey won the Obie as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award for the 1992-93 Off Broadway season. It is "a blend of romantic comedy, wild farce and real emotion…a tribute to people who battle disease and fear with passion, humor, and style," says Rudnick. His other credits include I Hate Hamlet, I'll Take It, and the screenplays In and Out, Sister Act, and Addams Family Values.

Produced by Mercury Players in the Evjue Theatre at the Esquire, 113 E. Mifflin Street.

July 1
8 pm
July 2
8 pm
July 3
5 and 8:30 pm
July 9
8 pm
July 10
5 and 8:30 pm
July 11
7 pm
July 16
8 pm
July 17
5 and 8:30 pm

Tickets are $10.00. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Madison AIDS Network. For reservations call The Esquire Theater (294-0740) or Mercury Players (242-0150).