Daniel Kuhlman (left) as Robert Spitzer and Mikel Farber as Ron Gold in the 2023 Hollywood Fringe production of SICK.
An edge-of-your-seat docu-dramedy, SICK tells the story of the early 1970s struggle to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Based in part on the historical record, the play follows Ron Gold, a gay activist and aversion therapy survivor, whose growing resolve to rid the manual of its damning diagnosis puts him on a collision course with the psychiatric establishment. Unbeknownst to Ron and his fellow activists, forces from within the APA have also secretly begun to lobby for change. In the end, those for removal of the diagnosis, and those against it, clash in a dramatic confrontation at the 1973 APA Convention in Hawaii, where historic change is about to take place.
With humor and poignancy, early 70s music, and the ghost of Freud himself, the play recounts a pivotal moment in gay history, while affirming the power of the individual in the struggle for equality and human rights.