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Art, activism, and the AIDS crisis: Elaine Magree on her solo theater show Holding the Edge

David Allen


January 28,1986 was a difficult day in American history. It was the day of the Challenger explosion, and was also right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic that swept the country. It’s over the course of that one day that Elaine Magreeunfolds her story in the one-woman show Holding The Edge.

In it, she shared her own experiences of being a hospice nurse in Oakland during that era, and how she tried to balance motherhood, political activism, sobriety, and faith in the goodness of the world. Magree talked to KALW’s Jen Chien about putting her own life on the stage.


MAGREE: I think it's also true that when people laugh, there's something that opens up and you're more willing to listen.

Holding the Edge will be having its closing performances on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 at the Marsh Theater. For more information click here

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview. 

Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.