Engel in Amerika
von Tony Kushner
Translated by Frank Heibert
PART I: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES approx. 2 hours and 20 minutes, one interval
PART II: PERESTROIKA approx. 2 hours and 20 minutes, one interval
Duration Parts I and II: approx. 5 hours and 30 minutes including intervals
The mid-1980s: the outbreak of the disease AIDS alarms New York. Louis, son of a wealthy Jewish family, abandons his sick boyfriend Prior and starts a relationship with conservative Mormon lawyer Joe. When Joe’s drug-dependent wife Harper retreats into dreams of everlasting ice, his strictly religious mother flies in outraged from Salt Lake City. The Republican Roy Cohn, a cynical and power-obsessed lawyer, insists until his last breath that he is not gay and does not have AIDS. Even on his deathbed, he refuses to stop arguing about this with his black nurse Belize. And then an angel breaks through Prior’s bedroom ceiling.
«You’re scared. So am I. Everyone is in the land of freedom. God help us all.»
Tony Kushner’s theatrical epic won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Set in the Reagan era, it was written against the background of nascent neo-liberalism. «Angels in America» still provides an accurate and unsparing analysis of a society that is the carrier for a collective disease whose existence it struggles to accept. The fact that Kushner created a literary portrait of Roy Cohn here, the former lawyer of a subsequent US President, is much more than a wink from history.
The Australian director Simon Stone reads Kushner from the perspective of our millennium, in which the spirit of neo-liberalism has taken up residence in every aspect of our lives with no resistance. His Nestroy Prize-winning production now comes to Munich, a city where the prominent location of Aids Memorial by the artist Wolfgang Tillmans reminds us of the victims of this disease and those people who continue to live with AIDS today.