A huge, steel-gray winged angel descended from the dismantled ceiling. The Messenger had arrived. Prior Walter sat in awed silence as did the audience.
Termed by its author, Tony Kushner, Angels in America is a "gay fantasia on national themes." This two-time Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning play deals with AIDS, homosexuality and the barrier-transcending quality of love.
The style in which Angels was written is very honest and blunt: scenes include swearing and male nudity. Angels demands an audience with a sense of humor as well as the maturity to deal with very serious and controversial issues.
Roy Cohn is one of the first characters the audience encounters. He is a lawyer and a closet homosexual who must hide his true nature to project an image considered acceptable by society. Joe Pitt is an up-and-coming lawyer whose strong feelings of loyalty to his religion and his wife hinder his realization of his own homosexuality. Harper Pitt, Joe's wife, is an agoraphobic and a valium addict. She lives in a world of dreams and travels to places far from reality with the help of her imaginary travel agent, Mr. Lies. Louis Ironson is a man afraid of death, yet who ceases to care about life when overcome by guilt about abandoning his AIDS-stricken boyfriend. Prior Walter, Louis's boyfriend, is visited by the Messenger, a great archangel, and Belize, a nurse and Prior's touchstone to reality and his weakening grasp of sanity.
I recommend this play to those who feel they can handle its subject matter. It is a passionate, compelling and inspired drama for our times, which portrays its subject matter with empathy and compassion.
Angles in America is an experience that pulls at your heart and weighs on your conscience, an unforgettable night in the theatre. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.