Le bruit du silence (The Sound of the Silence) follows the story of a seropositive man who pushes his way into a two-person play with an actress/playwright named Carole who just lost her brother to AIDS. Her play is a composite of writings and phone calls and monologues about her relationship to her brother, and is a way to help herself come to understand why he never told her about his having HIV/AIDS and to accept his loss.
The play-within-a-play structure avoids many of the standard tropes of that framing with its honesty about the industry and the fact that the fictional play doesn't happen. Many of the monologues get preachy, but preachy in the good way because they don't depart at all from where the characters are and the story and characters remains the focus of the entire piece.
One of the parts that stood out to me was Carole's (Florence Kleinbort) explanation about why such a play is a difficult sell. Theaters don't want to take on something that's sad, about a disease of a particular group of people, something meant to be difficult, something without music, fancy costumes, big stars, easy humor... because they don't think that they'll be able to sell tickets for it. It was apropos considering how, as she spoke, I looked around the theater and counted only two people who may have paid for their own tickets (there were a few festival judges, theater staff, one person who wrote one of the other plays competing, and me, with a press pass, but otherwise the theater was empty).
It's a frustrating reality.