Langley, British Columbia—The true story of Kimberly Bergalis, a Catholic girl who contracted the AIDS virus while having a dental operation in 1987, will be on stage at the upcoming Fraser Valley Peace and the Arts Festival in Abbotsford. Trinity Western University Drama has been invited to perform Patient A on March 8 and 9, a play which explores issues of testing, discrimination and personal responsibility against the larger backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in America. TWU presented Patient A on the University’s main stage last season.
“Kimberly’s profound faith is one of the most striking aspects of the story,” says Angela Konrad, a drama instructor at TWU and director of the production. “The play deals frankly with the painful reality of human disease and the social stigma attached to HIV and AIDS. Yet, Kimberly’s understanding of the sanctity of life shaped her experience in a profound way.”
Rebecca Gibbons, a TWU dramatic arts scholarship winner from Langley, will take the title role, playing the part of Kimberly, whose case marked the first documented instance of an individual contracting HIV from a health care worker. The Bergalis family commissioned writer Lee Blessing to compose the play while their daughter struggled with the political, physical, emotional, social and spiritual implications of living with an infectious, terminal illness.
“The play has a powerful message,” says actor Jean Rwomwijhu, who has seen the devastating effects of the illness in her homeland, Uganda, where AIDS is referred to as the common disease. “It talks about the larger disease, which is insensitivity towards those with AIDS, at a time when those people, who are suffering, need compassion the most.”
“Being involved in the show has been an incredible experience for our actors,” adds Konrad, who has also directed at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre. “They’ve gone through a whole range of emotions as they’ve prepared for this performance, knowing that this story is about a real person.”
Patient A will play March 8 and 9 at 8 p.m., on the University College of the Fraser Valley campus in Abbotsford. For more information, contact Angela Konrad at 604-888-7511.
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,000 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2007-09-26