Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes Part I: Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika by Tony Kushner

Does Tony Kushner know what a play is?

I’m convinced Tony does not understand his medium at all.

Still, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes Part I: Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika is truly a gem.

This “play” is a careful balance between levity and seriousness, managing to be genuinely funny while commenting on National Themes such as AIDS, Religion, Homosexuality, and Politics. The plot is complex (because this “play” is seven hours long), yet remains cohesive, and the various storylines intertwine quite neatly and nicely without feeling contrived.

Angels is also the worst “play” ever because it’s not really a “play” at all. Apart from being absurdly long*, there are a lot of elements that seem extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve live and on-stage. Examples include but are not limited to sceneries “dissolving,” characters vanishing because they’re ghosts, a flashback within a scene involving the same character, a flying Angel, a scene set on a beach, and a scene set in Heaven. Which is meant to look like San Francisco. Post-1906 Earthquake.

And if all that wasn’t enough, one of the the final moments of this “play” is the protagonist literally saying “bye now,” directly to the audience.

My friend and actual Theatre Buff™ summarizes my feelings for this “play” best: “angels is a Very Long Play by tony k i hate it but also it’s the only thing i talk about [sic].”

Rating: 4/5

*Fun fact, Part I premiered when Tony was still writing Part II (also second fun fact, it’s still seems to be a work-in-progress, based on the number of the revised editions), and people had to wait sixteen months in between the two premieres. 

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