Music by Jay Anthony Gach – Libretto by Royce Vavrek
In a prologue, graveside mourners grieve the death of their friend Andrew who has just died from a new, 21st century plague.
A female doctor, nurse and reporter contextualize the fear and frenzy brought about by the outbreak of this new flesh-eating virus, including a predicted death toll of three million New Yorkers in the next two years.
We are introduced to Harris and Vince as they return home from a party where they have discovered that the loss of many of their closest friends, ravaged by the unidentified virus, has become exponential. Harris encourages Vince to recall happier times, when their love wasn’t held hostage by fear of infection, though Vince likens the plague to an apocalypse and wonders if not only disease, but also loneliness is defeating the world. Harris, in an effort to be more optimistic, reminisces about their first kiss, breathing back and forth, the air from their lungs passing between them sensually. It is when Vince takes off his shirt that the truth becomes visible: they can no longer be intimate due to Vince’s being infected, his body covered in lesions, his flesh being eaten off his body. Vince, completely exhausted by frustration and grief, falls to the floor. Harris watches in agony, unable to even hold his lover to comfort him.
In a temporal shift forward, Harris brings Leif, a college student barely twenty, home from a casual night out. Both are slightly intoxicated, and head straight to the shower to inspect each other for signs of the flesh-eating virus. Leif, seemingly innocent, reveals that he was attracted to Harris’ dark figure in the corner of the bar, and could tell that he had a dominating personality. Harris ties Leif to the bedposts, blindfolds his eyes and readies to facilitate the boy’s sexual fantasies. The golden rule is announced: Leif must call Harris by his seemingly sexually anonymous name “Vince”. Out of the shadows walks the ghost of Vince, covered from head to toe in open wounds, who crawls into bed with the bound Leif, caressing him. Harris sitting on the side of the bed sings a duet with Leif as he becomes intimate with the body of Vince.
The next morning, Vince wakes as Harris drinks a coffee in his bathrobe. Harris so desperately wants to kiss Vince, as he believes that he has forgotten the sensation of his kisses. They recall past intimacies before Harris finally pulls the sheet over Vince’s head so he won’t catch the virus through contact, kissing him through the white cotton cloth. When the sheet is pulled back down, Leif is revealed in all of his cherubic beauty. Leif recites romantic language that is specific to the love of Vince and Harris revealing that Vince has taken over the boy’s body in a transfiguration.