[Play Review] The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer

The Normal Heart

Larry Kramer

What rating would you give it?
4 of 5 Stars

Breakdown is as follows:

Actual rating is both…
3.75 Stars (mostly due to the unremarkable writing)

and 5 stars (for the incredible, heartbreaking tragedy that can’t even be described as a “story,” for it effected too many lives, brings rage to my heart some thirty years later, and tore apart a man who was simply trying to be the voice of a denied people)

Thus, to be fair, it gets a rounded 4 stars so we’re even.

Give us a summary.

(From Goodreads)
THE NORMAL HEART is the explosive drama about our most terrifying and troubling medical crisis today: the AIDS epidemic. It tells the story of very private lives caught up in the heart-rendering ordeal of suffering and doom – an ordeal that was largely ignored for reasons of politics and majority morality.

Filled with power, anger, and intelligence, Larry Kramer’s riveting play dramatizes what actualy happened from the time of the disease’s discovery to the present, and points a moral j’accuse in many directions. His passionate indictment of government, the media, and the public for refusing to deal with a national plague is electrifying theater – a play that finally breaks through the conspiracy of silence with a shout of stunning impact. As Douglas Watt summed it up in his review for the New York Daily News,THE NORMAL HEART is “an angry, unremitting and gripping piece of political theater. You are bound to come away moved.”

What did you think of this play?

Now, I want to say something about this understandably powerful play – I think… seeing it would have been more beneficial and successful an endeavor than simply reading it. Watching the actors put on the performance of a lifetime and searing into your eyes, your mind, your… very soul the profound impact of a government turning its back on its own people, simply because of their sexuality or social-economic backgrounds. Realizing that had they done something sooner, helped – people sooner… much of the tragedy of AIDS would not have spread so quickly or so staggeringly throughout the U.S.; a country supposedly in the height of First World privilege.

I was über curious about this play from the moment I heard Mark Ruffalo would be making a movie from a play of the same name. I can’t say I ever heard about it prior to that (which – I know – is a tragedy all in itself) but I’m thankful to have been able to read this and have the events through this play now part of my life.

I try not to read books about the HIV-AIDS epidemic (or the horrors of black slavery, or the Holocaust, or native american “relocation”), not because I want to close my eyes to the situation, but because I am too acutely aware of exactly what is going on. Sometimes, to have to relive it again and again in books sometimes more appalling than one might expect, is just too much.

This play has that sort of effect on you. You read it, and suddenly you are there in 1981, and you live through that four year period of utter hell. You see a government… a free, representative democracy, a “by the people, for the people” government…literally fuck everyone over by ignoring the cries of their gay citizens, by refusing to be involved with the gay cancer, by default… aiding in the spread of the disease. The overall writing might have been mediocre, but – let me tell you – the message was loud and clear.

My heart goes out to Ned, who feels like he hasn’t done enough; to Dr. Brookner who’s righteous anger mirrors my own so clearly; to all the men, women, and others of varying genders who suffered because their voices weren’t heard. We hear you. Even if it took thirty years – gods… we hear you.

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Sure does~ Although it was specifically read for the 2015 Play On Reading Challenge, it also fits these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?

ohyeahIf for no other reason than to educate yourself on a topic very often pushed under the rug. As I said before, the writing itself could use some work, but the message definitely outweighs the faults in this one.


Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Published: October 29, 1985 (by Plume)
Format: PDF
Pages: 128
Genre & Themes: Play, Theatre, Queer, LGBT,
QUILTBAG, Drama, AIDS epidemic, American
History, Politics, Human Rights, Activism,
Closeted Gays, Morality (Or The Lack Thereof)
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: jcc rochester. Click here.
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (79),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge,
2015 Play On Reading Challenge2015 LGBT Challenge,
2015 New To You Reading Challenge

[Play Review] The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

Oscar Wilde

What rating would you give it?
5 of 5 Stars

Give us a summary.

(From Goodreads)
Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

What did you think of this play?

I always knew I would enjoy this — and I’m not just saying that because it was made by Oscar Wilde, either.

Unlike some individuals who might have decided to pick up this book because of the movies that were made from it, or the numerous plays that were performed of it, I just wanted to read it because… well… because it sounded interesting.

Yup. That’s right folks! I wasn’t awe-inspired to pick up this read, or anything of the like. I just thought it would be an interesting read, and BOY DID IT NOT DISAPPOINT.

The humor was, as always, completely on-point and flawless. I found myself snickering and covering my gaping maw far too many times to count. And the subtext. Can we say READING BETWEEN THE LINES? Holy crap, people! There is so much homoerotic references and inquiries riddled throughout, it’s not even SUBTLE anymore. XD

But I won’t go into any more detail. I think this is one of those plays that need to be read/seen rather than talked about in mere words. You need to be immersed in the wit and sarcasm and humor to really get the genius of it.

So just go read it already! You won’t be disappointed. 😉

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Sure does~ Although it was specifically read for the 2015 Play On Reading Challenge, it also fits these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?


Highly recommended! This was a bucketful of laughter. I wouldn’t miss out on a chance to read something great. Not by a long shot! So why the hell should you? Go read the thing, already!

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Published: August 2006 (from the 1915
Methuen & Co. Ltd. edition by David Price)
Format: PDF
Pages: 76
Genre & Themes: Comedy, Humor, Play,
Homoerotic Subtext, Subtext, Farce,
Politics, Sarcasm, Court Life
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Gutenberg Project. Click here.
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (19),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge,
2015 Play On Reading Challenge

[Stage Play Review] Endymion, the Man in the Moon

EndimionEndymion, the Man in the Moon

John Lyly

What rating would you give it?
4.5 of 5 Stars

What are your thoughts on the play? How did you come to read it?

So as most of my generation would say, “The first time I ever heard the name ‘Endymion’ was while screaming it alongside Sailor Moon (aka Princess Serenity) as she watched her love die before her very eyes or gets mortally wounded or some other such HORROR from that quaint little show we all watched as children called Sailor Moon.” XD

It was only through that manga (and later the anime) that I learned anything about the myth and the story behind “the man in the moon” (since most schools officially sucked at doing their job and ACTUALLY TEACHING YOU SOMETHING OF VALUE *groan ‘n eyeroll*). Having piqued my interest, I later went on something of a book-hunt to track down a copy to read for my own pleasure and intellectual enlightenment.

Cue actually finding a copy, only to MISPLACE SAID COPY, and thus never actually getting the chance to read said copy. EVER.

Fast forward to the present day and a certain Play On Reading Challenge which challenged me to read plays from different time periods… Add to that me COINCIDENTALLY UNCOVERING THIS PLAY AGAIN AMONG A THRONG OF DUSTY OLD BOOKS, and VOILA! Instant rekindling of old fond memories of Sailor Scouting and Endymion goodness.


John Lyly’s play actually has NOTHING to do with any girl punishing you in the name of the moon or any dude named Mamoru.


Shocker! I know. XD Just thought I’d let you know in case you were wonderin’. 8D

The original Greek story of Endymion is a bit muddled, where no one is entirely sure if he was king, shepherd, hunter, or vagrant… However, all interpretations agree that whoever this mystery man was… he was undoubtedly the lover of Selene.

Selene — *COUGHprincessSerenityCOUGHCOUGHS* — is the Titan goddess of the moon, daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn.

The play by John Lyly is loosely based on that classic Greek tale, but has its roots firmly placed in Elizabethan drama, paralleling the shenanigans of Queen Elizabeth I’s court and many aspiring suitors.

It starts with Endymion talking to his close friend Eumenides about how he’s been feeling a bit lovesick and dispassionate about everything and everyone except for the celestial heavens above. (I’m really not kidding here. The guy is waay gone. xD) Herein, he confesses that he’s fallen in love with the moon Goddess, Cynthia. Eumenides, as any good best friend would, tells him he’s crazy and he needs to come back down to earth.


Cythnia, on the other hand, is totally playing it cool and not falling for this nonsense (even if she does care for this silly love-stricken mortal man).

Meanwhile, Tellus, Endymion’s erstwhile lover, concocts a plan to enlist the help of a sorceress to enchant Endymion so he falls into a deep sleep from which he cannot awaken.

Thus, our story truly begins.

From there, the play plays out in its entirety with intrigue, more hopelessly in-love love-falling, running about not knowing what anyone else is doing, and all the while Endymion sleeps. (All in all — probably the BEST SLEEP OF HIS LIFE. /shuts up holy gods I need to stop making jokes)

Impressions? Well, I for one am REALLY glad I was able to read this play (finally). It was as interesting, kinda purple prose-y and flourishing as I imagined, and full of laugh-out-loud moments that had many around me wondering (and asking), “What are you reading?” I think all the dialogue was rather spot-on, humorous, witty, and satirical while being quite bold for its content matter, especially as it about the reigning Queen (at the time) herself. What an ingenious play, elegantly written and brilliantly executed!

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Sure does~ Although it was specifically read for the 2015 Play On Reading Challenge! It also fits these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?


I apparently have very good taste in plays, because this one is also a keeper! I’m just sorry I didn’t read it sooner… But I guess, all things in their time. 🙂

Go find yourself a copy and read for yourself~~~!

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Format: Paperback
Pages: play itself is 109 pgs
Genre & Themes: Love, Divinity, Mythology,
Play, Queen Elizabeth I, Stage Play, Comedy,
Greek Mythology, Moon, Romance, Love,
Jilted Lovers, Satire
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Bought (If you want to read it online, click here.)
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (19),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge


[Play Review] Prometheus Bound

2940014965798_p0_v1_s260x420Prometheus Bound

(Part 1 of 3 of The Prometheus)


What rating would you give it?
4.5 of 5 Stars

Give us a summary.

(Taken from Goodreads)
In Greek legend, Prometheus was the Titan who, against the will of Zeus, stole fire from the gods for the benefit of man. His terrible punishment by Zeus, and his continuing defiance of Zeus in the face of that punishment, remain universal symbols of man’s vulnerability in any struggle with the gods.

What did you think of this play?

First off, let me clarify: I only read the first of three plays to this trilogy, as (I believe) that is the only one known to still exist. The other two, which are missing are “Prometheus Unbound” and “Prometheus Liberator of Fire.”

As for what I thought? Well I thought it was an extremely enjoyable read! I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to read the play behind the famous motif of Prometheus, friend of man. The basic understanding behind the myth is a simple one: Prometheus gives gifts to man and in doing so saves them from Zeus’ destruction, for which he is punished and left in eternal torment.

What struck me as rather interesting was the fact that he not only gave fire to mankind, but he also gave Man hope. This, beyond anything else, may very well be the gift that outshines all others. For one thing is for certain: Man’s ability to hope and believe without proof, without a shadow of a doubt in things unseen, unheard, unknown… literally puts mankind leagues beyond all other creation. By having hope and being able to see beyond the immediate dire-ness of a situation, human beings can strive to accomplish so much. All on the hope that one day things will be better. Change can happen. If you believe it, you dreams can come true.

It’s almost comical in a way, that Zeus should be so angered by the gift of fire being handed over to the mortals, instead of the gift of hope. Especially since it is Man’s capacity to hope which ensures their continued survival even to this day.

Hands down, this play might be among my favourites of the Greek tragedies. Namely for its exquisite metaphors and parallels when comparing it to other myths of firebringers and helpers of mankind. (See Olofat, Coyote, Beaver, Dog, Azazel, Maui, Nanabozho, and others. And although Loki is not said to be a bearer of fire to humans, he too suffers a similar punishment as Prometheus, although perhaps a more gruesome of a one.)

Does it count towards any reading challenges?

Sure does~ Although it was specifically read for the 2015 Play On Reading Challenge! It also fits these challenges as well:

Would you recommend this book?

Highly recommended! As far as plays go, this is right up there among the best! I’m definitely going to give this one another read this year.

Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)

Written: ca. 430 B.C.E
Format: PDF
Pages: 64
Genre & Themes: Mythology, Greek Mythology,
Tragedy, Plays, Prometheus, Absolute Power,
Power Hungry, Gods & Goddesses, Fantasy,
Betrayal, Anguish, Torment, Punishment,
Tyranny, Fire, Firebringer, Vengeance, Cruelty,
Injustice, Defiance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Click here!
Challenge2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge (19),
52 Books in 52 WeeksYou Read How Many Books?,
Read A Million Pages105 Reading Challenge,
2015 Play On Reading ChallengeEthereal 2015

2015 Play On Reading Challenge



hosted by Half-Filled Attic

see here more info to sign up


  • The challenge will run for four months, beginning from January 2015.
  • Each month, there will be a monthly theme.
  • A master post will be published shortly before the challenge begins.
  • Participants are expected to read and post a review each month, and post it in the upcoming Master Post.

January: Ancient Plays, including Greek and Roman plays
February: Renaissance Plays, including Shakespeare and his contemporaries
March: Post-Renaissance Plays, anything post Renaissance is allowed. Wilde and Shaw are very welcome
April: Freebie Plays, if you find any particular playwright interesting during the 3 months, feel free to read another of his/her plays. Or if you want to experiment with other genre or other playwright, you are in.

Here is my list for this challenge:

  1. Ancient PlayPrometheus Bound by Aeschylus
  2. Renaissance Play: Endymion, the Man in the Moon by John Lyly
  3. Post-Renaissance Play: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  4. Freebie Play: The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer & Joseph Papp

What A List! The Book Challenges I Plan To Participate In This Year


Last year I was getting the hang of blogging again, so I tried not to make too many demands of myself in regards to my reading. I was just going to read as per usual.

This year, I’m changing things up a bit and setting some goals for myself for the fun of it. 🙂

I did some scouring around the internet the other day and found some really interesting ones. If I can swing it, I’ll be doing these:


  1. 0 of 52. 52 Books in 52 Weeks by Robin of My Two Blessings.
  2. 0 of 24. New To You 2015 Reading Challenge by Herding Cats & Burning Soup.
  3. 0 of 20. Ethereal 2015 Reading Challenge by Riedel Fascination.
  4. 0 of 52. 2015 Graphic Novels & Manga Reading Challenge by Graphic Novel & Manga Challenge.
  5. 7 of 115. 2015 Good Reads Reading Challenge by GoodReads.
  6. 0 of 57. LGBT Challenge 2015 by Niji Feels.
  7. 0 of 4. Play On Reading Challenge by Half-Filled Attic.
  8. 0 of 105. 105 Reading Challenge 2015 by Read Write Love 28.
  9. 0 of ∞. 2015 Around the World Reading Challenge by All About Books. ***EDIT!*** I thought about it and realized I would never do this. For 1, I rarely read books that take place on Earth lol. For 2, it just seems like too much work, and with this many other challenges to do, I just don’t have the time for this.)
  10. 0 of 12. 2015 The Re-Read Reading Challenge by Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With.
  11. 0 of 50. 2015 NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge by Falling For YA.
  12. 0 of 1M pgs. Read One Million Pages by Smiling Shelves.
  13. 0 of 10. 2015 Books N’ Tunes Reading Challenge by Delighted Reader.
  14. 7 of 115. You Read How Many Books? by Book Dragon’s Lair.
  15. 0 of 12. Monthly Motif by Kim of Bookmark to Blog.
  16. 0 of 12. Monthly Keyword by Kim of Bookmark to Blog.
  17. 0 of 12. The Eclectic Reader by Book’d Out.

Anyone thinking of entering any of these? If so, let me know! 🙂 Link me to your post or blog so I can keep up with your progress! You can check back here to follow mine. I’ll be setting up links in the header with each challenge and the books or posts that correspond with them.

Let’s make this a crazy good reading year!