Arts and Culture | Local

In ‘Looking for Magic,’ a mother recalls the devastation of AIDS in the 1990s

Beverly King Pollock

The Invisible Theatre will hold a reading of “Looking for Magic,” a semi-autobiographical play by Tucsonan Beverly King Pollock, on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. in observance of World AIDS Day.

Pollock and her husband, Mel, lost both of their sons to AIDS in the 1990s.

In 1990, she had recently retired as communications director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and was auditing a playwriting class at the University of Pittsburgh when she and her husband flew to Los Angeles to tend to their son Robert.

“It turned out to be the last four months of his life,” Pollock told the AJP. “It was very painful. Sometimes, to help cope, I would look at it as if it were a play and I was one of the characters.”

Returning to Pittsburgh, she began writing “Looking for Magic,” finishing it in 1994, about a year before her son Larry died. Initially, she thought the introduction of the AIDS drug AZT made her play obsolete. But, realizing it captured a moment in time that should not be forgotten, she updated it, setting many scenes as flashbacks.

The play was staged by the Pitt Men’s Study at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012, shortly before Pollock moved to Tucson.

The reading at Invisible Theater is a “slimmed down” version, she says, underwritten by a number of individuals and organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, JFSA Pride and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.

Director Fred Rodriguez, who is the event coordinator at SAAF “and a wonderful theatre person,” did a marvelous job cutting the piece, says Susan Claassen, IT managing artistic director.

Following the reading, which will feature seven professional actors, there’ll be “an intimate conversation” and reception with Pollock, says Claassen.

To inquire about reserving a complimentary ticket, call the box office at 882-9721.