Valerie Laub presents HIV Unmasked at the Old Church

Valerie Laub presents HIV Unmasked at the Old Church

Smithers playwright unmasks stigma of HIV

Playwright Valerie Laub quickly found a voice for the disease in HIV Unmasked.

In all the discussions of HIV/AIDS, no one gets to hear from the virus itself.

But playwright Valerie Laub quickly found a voice for the disease in HIV Unmasked.

It’s a seriously silly play where Laub takes on the role of HIV, a “nasty, vile contagion” who struts across the stage, cheerleading (and sometimes singing) for her cause.

Backed by an eerie soundtrack made by a Smithers youth group, Laub said the HIV character is a playful way to bring home some important lessons about how HIV spreads and the toll it takes on the body.

But hidden behind Laub’s four other characters are real people, all living with HIV/Aids in northwest B.C.

Laub says most of the script for the half-hour play comes straight from interviews with four people who agreed to join the project with help from Positive Living North.

“I gained such respect for the people whose stories I heard,” Laub said, noting how many of them continue to face stigma in their families and home towns.

The play debuts April 24 at 12:30 in the Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre. On April 25, a second free performance will take place at the Old Church at 7:30 p.m.