"Tokens is an award-winning opera set in the Great Plague of London of 1665.
It was written by David Schein and the music was composed and arranged by Candace Natvig English and David Schein in 1985 when the plague of AIDS was devastating America.
Whoopi Goldberg was one of the original producers of TOKENS, and she wrote us in support of a revival:
"When this was first performed in San Francisco...Artists were doing everything they could to sound the alarm and bring attention to what we could not name, could not understand, and could not know who exactly was going to maybe get it...I think a revival of Tokens is a great idea."
Our goal is to stage a revival of Tokens in the wake of the coronavirus plague. Our vision includes a book, a solo/chamber ensemble version or a full theater production, and a movie.
Tokens: A Play on the Plague, which took San Francisco by storm in 1985, was written to be an immersive theatrical experience and a piece of intense physical theater. It directed the audience through the streets, homes, and death pits of a London ravaged by plague. The compelling choral music, dance and rich historical narrative reflected the pandemic that was being experienced in San Francisco in the 80’s, the plague we call AIDS.
Now, in the era of COVID, Tokens is more than relevant; it frames the plague as a human experience common through the ages, one that some of us may see again in our lifetimes. Waves of plague have hit like earthquakes from time immemorial. Plague is always current.
A revival of Tokens will serve, as it did during the time of AIDS, as a sweeping gesture of theater, an act of memory, sadness and beauty, healing and public mourning.
Click below to see a video about the potential of the revival of Tokens.