TOKENS was originally produced by the Blake Street Hawkeyes, Mixed Bag Productions & Whoopi Goldberg in association with Theater Artaud.
TOKENS ran for six weeks from May 16th, 1985 to June 30th, 1985 at Theater Artaud in San Francisco. This was at a time when a mysterious and fatal disease was reeking havoc in San Francisco; known then as “Gay Cancer,” it was soon to be called AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome ) and now, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Only later, after TOKENS was produced, was the transmission vector of the disease identified. The similarities of the HIV pandemic to the Great Plague of London; the mystery of transmission, the pursuit of fatuous and real treatments, the heroism and charlatanism it brought out in the population and governing institutions, was prescient, as it is again in the time of Covid. At that time of panic (1985) the Bay Area’s performing arts community, reeling from the crisis, came together to make TOKENS a devastating act of catharsis in the theater.
About the Author
David wrote TOKENS and with Candace Natvig English composed and arranged the music. He is a theater artist, composer, writer and teacher and was a founding member of the Iowa Theater Lab and Berkeley’s Blake Street Hawkeyes.. He has performed in pieces by Robert Wilson and the composer Lucanio Berio, toured with Whoopi Goldberg and was a contributing writer to her first Broadway show. He performed his solo piece Out Comes Butch in Europe and North America for 35 years. In 2002 Schein founded One Love AIDS/HIV Awareness Theater with a troupe of street youth in Ethiopia. He has created innumerable solo shows, four musicals, many collaborations and has authored two books, “My Murder and Other Local News”, performance poems, published by Fomite Press –and a novel, “The Adoption,” also published by Fomite. He has taught at Brown University and Naropa and at many schools and colleges including the once marvelous Burlington College. His career as a non-profit manager includes Chicago’s Free Street Theater, the Arts Council for Chautauqua Co. (NY), the Willowell Foundation (VT) and the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition. He presently is the Grants and Project Manager for Alnôbawai, a Vermont-based non-profit dedicated to preserving Abenaki indigenous traditions and lives in his hometown, Burlington, VT with his wife, the actress Dana Block, and his parakeets, Jet Blue and Banana.