He Asked for It

Gay playwright Erik Patterson tackles HIV in a funny way -- no hospital beds here.

BY Amita Parashar

June 29 2009 12:00 AM ET

It was only natural that plays about HIV in the '80s and '90s reflected stories of death and the struggle for survival. He Asked for It isn't one of those plays. It is a play for a new generation dealing with that virus alongside life, love, and all their complications.

Thirty-one-year-old gay playwright Erik Patterson says he wanted the play to reflect a generation that finds it difficult to connect physically in the Internet age. "I couldn't have written this play 10 years ago," he says. He Asked for It recently opened its second run in Los Angeles, this time at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood. The play's successful first run, at Los Angeles's Theatre of NOTE, earned it a 2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination.

He Asked for It is set in modern-day West Hollywood, oscillating between online chat rooms, the West Hollywood bar Fubar, and the gym -- where the audience first meets Ted (Joe Egender), a fresh-faced aspiring actor. Having just graduated from college in Laramie, Wyo. (where Matthew Shepard was fatally beaten -- no coincidences here), Ted expands his dating life in the city by meeting guys online, including hunky, HIV-positive Rigby, played by Andrew Keegan ( 10 Things I Hate About You ).

Ted meets Rigby in person and rejects the possibility of a relationship with him after he learns of Rigby's HIV status. But Ted soon falls in love with Henry (Jeremy Glazer), another chat room connection, and discovers he is also positive, which forces him to face an ethical dilemma. When Henry breaks up with Ted to protect him from the virus, Henry asks Rigby to infect him.

Tags: Theater

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