Changing Rainbows, Red Wolf Theatre Company, at Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. What disturbs the AIDS counselor in Changing Rainbows isn't the humiliation of her loving and supportive husband confessing to a one-afternoon fling with a coworker infected with that disease, nor is it the embarrassment of having to be tested for HIV. It's the shattering of her self-image as Lofty Healer that moves her to question her entire universe.
Derrell Capes's dialogue veers between the didactic and the precious, after the fashion of the "serious" television comedies popularized by Norman Lear in the 1970s. But director Richard Shavzin and a hardworking cast--Susan Block as the devastated wife, David Mersault as her clueless husband, and Hillary Lynn Goldsher as the doomed other woman--wrest their text from the brink of farcical trivialization. Their performances infuse the most hackneyed sentiments ("I am a good person! Bad things are not supposed to happen to me!") with the conviction of complex human beings speaking from their own truth, and Goldsher even creates a whole personality for a character conceived as little more than a facilitator. Their efforts make for a play far more intelligent than the one its author wrote.
--Mary Shen Barnidge