Don't Ever Wipe Tears WIthout Gloves

(Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar)

Presented by The Embassy of Sweden and Capital Pride. All seats $10.

The bleak opening of Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves is set in a nursing home where a man is dying of AIDS, tended by nurses who themselves know next to nothing of the disease. The phrase one nurse utters as a warning gives this Swedish drama its title: any human contact, even if it’s intended as the smallest act of kindness, risks passing on the infection.

Poster art for Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without GlovesSimon Kaijser’s three-part drama begins in the Swedish countryside, where Rasmus (Adam Pålsson) has grown up happily, surrounded by a loving family. But Rasmus has grown up differently – he’s gay. And at 19, in the first flower of his curly-haired, innocent beauty, he’s raring to get away to Stockholm.

One of the first contacts he makes in this more sexually free society –  AIDS has not yet begun to inhibit behaviour – is the camp and cynical Paul (Simon J. Berger). He’s the centre of a group that has formed, we feel, to replace their actual families and as AIDS wreaks its toll, we see their numbers dwindle.

The first time Rasmus attends one of Paul’s parties, he meets the reticent Benjamin (Adam Lundgren). Benjamin was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and his life to date has been centred around his religious community.

That meeting of the two young men is the central point of Don’t Ever Wipe Tears: we see their relationship grow, with its joys and tribulations, and as their contacts with their blood families recede, the importance of their quasi-family and community increases. The details of different strata of Swedish society, from the almost wilful innocence of provincial life through the enclosed world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the sexual freedom of Stockholm, are beautifully observed.

“There’s no doubt about the direction the drama will be taking: after this first episode, ‘Love’, the follow-ups are titled ‘Disease’ and ‘Death’ respectively. They include some screen moments that are hard to watch for their emotional intensity, but Don’t Ever Wipe Tears treats its characters and their situations with respect, according them dignity even when life has done its utmost to take that away.

– Tom Birchenough, The Arts Desk

Presented by the Embassy of Sweden and Capital Pride. All seats $10.

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.