As is was not only about AIDS. It raised questions of love and courage relevant to everyone, straight or gay, male or female. Rich has a new young lover, a successful business and a newly published book when he finds he has AIDS. Friends and family turn their backs on Rich. Only his former lover Saul returns to care for him and accepts him ‘as is’.
With humour and sensitivity, As Is shattered the apathy and ignorance surrounding a real disease which touches all people. The play explored their struggle to accept their fears – the same struggle facing the community around them.
New York critics hailed As Is as the most powerful play of the year when it opened off Broadway at the Circle Repertory Theatre in March 1985. When the play was performed at Half Moon two years later the significance and urgency of As Is was even greater.
A percentage of income from As Is was donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust. Two extra midnight performances gave all the proceeds to the charity.
George Costigan is an actor who performed at Half Moon Theatre in the late 1980s. He talks about As Is, one of the first plays to deal with the issue of HIV/AIDS. Interviewed by Lorn Mackenzie.