The inspirational life of pharmaceutical scientist Krisana Kraisintu will premiere
onstage at Swine Palace in "Cocktail."
Swine Palace hosts "Cocktail"
Play to premiere at University
"She's a real-life hero," play co-writer and director Ping Chong said. "She saved a
lot of lives, and she's still saving lives. It just shows that one person can make a difference."
Kraisintu made AIDS treatment affordable to thousands of patients by creating a
generic version of the HIV drug AZT.
Kenneth De Abrew, MFA candidate starts of "Cocktail" with an interesting twist.
"Cocktail" will be running April 18 through May 6 at the Swine Palace
Co-writer and University biological
sciences professor Vince LiCata said he e-mailed Chong about the opportunity to
write a science related play.
"We met [Kraisintu] about three or four months after that," LiCata said. "We knew she
was going to talk to us, but we didn't know how long. She ended up spending 12 hours
with us one day and then four hours the next day."
Kraisintu is scheduled to speak in Baton Rouge at the Chancellor's Distinguished
Lectureship Series, as well as participate in a talk back session after the play.
"We're nervous about what she might think," LiCata said. "It will be good to get people
to know who she is because she doesn't get a lot of press here in America."
Chong said social injustice is an issue the play addresses.
"It is a social justice issue that poor people can't afford medication," Chong said.
"In Thailand the annual income is $25 per year, and in America the cost of AIDS
medication is $55 per day."
Chong said the story of Kraisintu could inspire audiences.
"I want all people to understand that we can make a difference," he said.
The Swine Palace Production of "Cocktail" is a part of the University's Performing Art Series.
"Your student fees pay for it," said Vastine Stabler, director of Marketing
and Public Relations for LSU heatre. "We bring in the great artists in the world.
This year they brought in Ping [Chong]."
Swine Palace and the LSU Performing Arts Series in association with Ping Chong
and Company are ringing "Cocktail" to the stage. The play previews tonight in Swine
Palace Theatre at 7:30 p.m. and premieres tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The play will run
through May 6.
While the play is premiering for the first time here at the University, LiCata said he
does have plans to dapt the script into a screenplay, and to take the play to other universities.
"It's such a huge cast so it gets expensive," he said. "It's perfect for a university."
Chong said he does not know what audiences will take from "Cocktail."
"I don't know if they are going to be receptive," he said. "But let's hope."