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Old 01-11-2005, 06:28 AM   #16
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Originally posted by paxetaurora
Kitten, this thread is about Angels in America, the play, not about Ronald Reagan. No one in this thread has trashed Reagan. Please start a different thread if you want to talk about AIDS funding in the '80s and Reagan's role in it.

Thank you.

sorry. please delete my earlier post if you'd like.
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:31 AM   #17
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No, it's all right. We'll leave things as they are. I just hope we can have a thread about the many issues the play presents, rather than have this turn into another Reagan circus. And, really, come to think of it, I'm not sure you can talk about the play without talking about the issue of AIDS/Reagan/government funding; I'd just hate to see the discussion revolve around that is all.
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:36 AM   #18
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Yes, it was his (irvine) post that sent me on my rant. But I won't post in this thread again.

Also the 'didn't say it until 1987' thing is misleading, that makes it look as if nothing was done and it's not true. My Dad was bringing stuff home from his GOVERNMENT job as early as 1982, and I remember the first time he told me about it he called it 'acquired immune decificiency syndrome', it wasn't even coined "AIDS" yet! But there was much concern already!

BTW the name of the thread includes 'how do you feel about it' which is rather open ended so I don't feel I, or even those I disagree with are off topic for discussing this. But I'm gone now, really!
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:47 AM   #19
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Duly noted.
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:49 AM   #20
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what i really wanna learn is how the show affected the conservatives' view of the gay community.. and my other thread about political correctness is a bit related as well. i mean, sure both sides preach tolerance but from the viewpoints of some people ive met when i was in the US, they still dont really feel very tolerant towards gays.

did it change anyone's point of view?

personally, i wasnt really sure about gay marriage earlier because i didnt believe if two men - or two women - could raise a healthy child in the communities we live in right now. im still unsure about the communities, but i am completely for gay marriage after watching this show. it is not any different than a heterosexual marriage in my opinion.

anyway, that was just an example and the subject isnt exactly relevant to gay marriage, so before i drift further, ill stop
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:09 AM   #21
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I didn't like it. I had to watch it until the end just because I'm that way, but I just didn't like it.
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:22 AM   #22
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I'm back since that was brought up just for the record to say that I have nothing against gays, I know gays who treat me better than my own blood kin, and I can relate to their sad plight of not being accepted by your family for what you are (what I am not accepted for is not having money and living in a bad neighborhood) My comments were only rage over history being told the wrong way, nothing against gays. My husband's brother was gay and died of AIDS in 1993
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by all_i_want
well, there is a gay guy (prior walter) dying of AIDS, then an angel visits him and tells him he is a prophet, events unfold.

it takes place in 1985, reagan era, and AIDS is seen mainly as a homosexual disease.. it does show how far the world has come in the last 20 years but also how it is still stuck on certain issues.

i really think you should see it some time.
Sounds like a deep, thought-provoking idea for a show. I honestly don't watch TV hardly at all, and I'm not currently glued to any programs (except new episodes of The Simpsons, but Fox is too busy with the football season, so basically no I have no desire to get hooked on TV). I would watch this show for history's sake at least one time, and will get back to you with a valid opinion, if I have time to watch it.
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:55 AM   #24
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Sigh.

That pretty much sums up my feelings on 'Angels' - it is such an overwhelming piece of theatre, it is just simply fantastic on every level. Its one of those pieces of literature that transcends literature and leaves its mark culturally. I mean, before it became the TV phenomenon that it is now, most of the Americans here will probably know that it was a multi-Tony (and any other Theatrical Award, for that matter) winner, and really put Tony Kushner on the map.

It remains, for me, the most outstanding and most relevant piece of American literature in the last few decades. Kushner is right up there with Miller and Williams, and if anyone should be fortunate enough to come across this piece, either by watching the HBO, reading the play or going to the theatre, I implore you to do so. Very few theatrical pieces can be called important - this is such a piece.

Its not just about AIDS or homosexuality, its not just about religion and politics and its not just the big questions such as life and death and spirituality - its about all these things, but you really do have to revert to the title 'Angels in America' - it summarises America in the last century perfectly and so movingly, and, surprisingly - given that it is concerned with AIDS, optimistically.

It follows three main stories; - The story of Prior Walter (a Protestant) and his being diagnosed with AIDS. His Jewish boyfriend dumps him and Walter is visited by some demented Angel telling him that 'the Great Work Begins', and hailing him as a prophet.

Meanwhile, his boyfriend goes and starts a relationship with Joe Pitt, a Mormon, who has just recently discovered that he's gay and, unbeknown to him, is slowly being manipulated/seduced by Roy Cohn, who is in danger of being disbarred and has also been diagnosed with AIDS (though he is, as you can imagine, a complete closet-case and calls it 'liver cancer'). Consequently, he is hospitalized and is given an incredibly camp nurse, Belize, to look after him. Also, he is haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, whom he helped execute back in the McCarthy era, back for retribution.

Meanwhile, Joe Pitt's long-suffering pill-popping wife, Harper, is having visions in her solitude of a man called 'Mr. Lies'. Also, she is visited by Joe's mother, Hannah, who, after being told on the phone by Joe of his homosexuality, decides to visit their home to restore everything to order.

Anyhow, these three stories develop and interconnect in some pretty fantastic ways. What they all have in common is that they show how Time has shaped America in so many different ways. AIDS is referred to by the Angel as the 'virus of time', and seems to be acting as some form of catalyst for American society. Truths are disclosed, illusions destroyed, ghosts of the past are put to rest, all the while hoping for 'God' to return.

For those who have seen it, look back to the beginning of the play when, at the Jewish funeral, the grandmother is given a eulogy about how she dragged herself and her family from Europe to the America and the 21st century, and created her own part of America. That really is what the play is about; change in America. You have a moderately young society founded by immigrants, by different faiths and systems of belief, and yet the society is rushing forward to the future.

I've never bought into the whole argument that it 'bashes Republicans'. It does criticize the Reagan administration, and that is where you can feel Kushner's liberal ideals. He does criticize how Reagan's America is 'not a country for the ill' and that it did turn a blind eye to the sheer scale of what was happening. I happen to agree with it, not because its a chance to bash
Reagan (an administration I have nothing but contempt for), but because its a criticism that is true of practically every government that dealt with AIDS in the first place. The reason WHY AIDS is such a monumental problem now is because, for far too long, there were too many myths attached to it. Myths that it was 'a gay cancer'. That it was 'out there' as opposed to 'not around me' - that it was somebody else's problem and somehow not mine. Practically everyone, except for Homosexuals who had to suffer a long period of even more prejeduice and were in no danger whatsoever of forgetting the threat of AIDS, was guilty of believing such mythology. Too many governments took far too long to act, and the results are evident.

The theme of self-delusion and hypocrisy is epitomised in the pathetic and vile character of Roy Cohn. And this is not liberal bashing - Roy Cohn's conduct as a lawyer and human being has been shown in far too many history books, Liberal of Conservative, to be a hypocritical, cynical zealot who did a lot of harm. His character represents much of the injustices that went on back in the era of McCarthy, and the injustices that go on now - even until the very end, he refuses to believe that he is dying of AIDS, and that he is a homosexual. ('AIDS is what homosexuals get, I have liver cancer').

His character is thus visited by Ethel Rosenberg, who he helped execute for being a Communist Spy (though it was little more than circumstantial evidence - the stronger evidence was found for her husband, Julius) who makes his death even more painful, though he is never even slightly repentant for his past actions. Ultimately, however, you really do feel sorry for him, despite him being so vile - the virus of time affects everyone of all faiths and political persuasion.

It is a remarkable piece of work - and I have gone on for too long. I apologise; I love talking about this piece, because it does a fie job of saying what very few pieces have been able to say about AIDS. It really doesnt matter if you're Catholic or Jewish, Liberal or Conservative - if you have any understanding or feeling for the era we live in, an era that really asks us to think fast and grow up fast before it is too late, and if you have any empathy for the horror that is the AIDS virus, I implore you to at least give this piece a chance.

Ant.

P.S - Oh, and the cast for the HBO movie (which I bought the moment it came out in the UK) is to die for. Al Pacino. Meryl Streep. Emma Thompson. Jeffrey Wright. If you're a Pacino fan, like me... it really is worth watching just to see Pacino's heart-breakingly visceral performance.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:28 AM   #25
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Yeah, so, everything Anthony said.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:29 AM   #26
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that's a great review anthony
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:30 AM   #27
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Oh, and I love the allusions in it to Jacob wrestling the angel (as I mentioned earlier, that's one of my favorite Bible stories).
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Old 01-11-2005, 10:54 AM   #28
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Yeah, I love that part too. When Prior wrestles the Angel, however, its really very funny. Hehe.

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Old 01-17-2005, 06:11 PM   #29
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I didn't see this thread when it was on the first page of FYM, so my apologies for bumping it from the 4th page. But I just wanted to say that I saw both parts of "Angels in America" on Broadway when it was running there, and it was brilliant.

There is a power to seeing a Broadway show that is unlike any other form of entertainment--I guess it's the immediacy and closeness that only a relatively small theater can provide. This play made you care about what was going on with the people involved, even if they weren't likeable characters.

Some big names were involved, too: I saw Marcia Gay Harden and Cynthia Nixon play the role that Penelope Ann Miller role played on HBO. And Jeffrey Wright was thoroughly wonderful as Belize--what a talented actor. (He gave a terrific performance in the lead role of "Basquiat.")

I think Tony Kushner is a rare talent and I'm sorry I missed his other works on Broadway and Off-Broadway, especially "Hometown/Kabul."
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