SHREVEPORT, LA--Tony Kushner's landmark play, Angels In America, will be presented at Centenary College's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse during a three-week period beginning Oct. 23 and closing on Nov. 8. It is being presented by the Theatre Department at Centenary under the direction of Robert Buseick, chairman of the department.
Angels In America is actually two plays - Part One: Millennuim Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika. Millennium Approahes will be presented on Oct. 23, 24, 25, Nov. 5, and 7 at 8 p.m. Perestroika will be presented Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 1, 6, and 8 at 8 p.m.
The cast for Angels In America, will be the same in Part One and Part Two.Perestroika is a continuation of Millennium Approaches. Theater officials said that it is not necessary to see both productions to enjoy the full impact of either play, although it is best to see both to experience the full journey of Kushner's epic. Because both plays contain material that some audience members might find offensive, ticket purchasers will be required to sign a release stating that they have been informed that the play may not be viewed favorably by audience members with conservative viewpoints.
Angels In America, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 and was recognized with several other honors, including several Tonys for the Broadway production. Kushner set for himself the task of writing about gay men, Mormons, and Roy Cohen, the anti-Semite, homophobic lawyer who, as the avenging attorney in the famous Rosenberg case, secured a guilty verdict that saw them subsequently executed. Cohen was not only a jew, but gay as well -- and died of AIDS himself.
Using three diverse elements, the playwright has created a mammoth work that redefines theatre in much the same way as Death of a Salesman changed the boundaries in the 1940's. Although AIDS and homosexuality are the central issues, Kushner uses them as a metaphor for the sweeping changes society is undergoing. He says that as the millennium approaches, the only constant is change.
The plot line involves Prior Walter who is dying of AIDS. His lover of four and one-half years, Louis, can't stand the stench of death and runs away -- to a life of self-hatred for what he has done. As one character remarks, "people who betray what they love -- betray all that is good in themselves."
Meanwhile, Joe Pitt - a Mormon - is a man in trouble. He is wrestling with HIS latent homosexuality and trying to keep life with his self-described pill-popping, sex-starved, crazy wife Harper in some kind of emotional order.
Around them swirl theatrical creations, such as a Mormon mother, an elderly rabbi, Ethel Rosenberg and Roy Cohen as a foul-mouthed monster, playing the game of life by his own set of gutter rules.
Angels In America Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika was described by Newsweek and the New York Times as "the most important play of the last 40 years."