Angels in America
Tony Kushner's award winning play
February 4-5 and 8-12, 2011 7:30 p and Sat 2 p and 7:30
Indiana University’s Department of Theatre and Drama presents Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. The production, directed by guest faculty member Jane Page is strong, deeply involving, and assured.
The Central Cast
Henry McDaniel is powerful as the central figure, Prior Walter, whose gradual descent into AIDS is a spiral of fear fought gamely with pathos, humor, irony and intelligence. Matthew Martin is sympathetic and maddening as his partner Louis, who is a bit of a punching bag in Kushner’s play. His search for intellectual support, whether from Jewish law or other codes of conduct, is a flurry of racial and homophobic hang-ups so dense as to be paralyzing.
The other couple that Angels follows is the rigidly closeted Joe Pitt, played with baffled sympathy by Taylor Crousore, and his mentally challenged wife Harper, played with an almost elfin grace by Sarah Fischer.
The Supporting Cast
Moving through Angels is the iconic figure of power for power’s sake, Roy Cohn, played with a strong grasp well beyond his years by Andrew Benowich. The play is rich in supporting characters. Jackson Goldberg is memorable as a tired old rabbi who’s unable to give Louis an easy answer. Jaysen Wright is charming as Sarah’s fantasy travel agent and a sympathetic but wary gay caregiver and sounding board.
Marty Brent and Thomas Beaver are quite a pair, appearing in Prior’s hallucinations. Brent plays an earthy forebear who succumbed to the plague, and Beaver is a considerably more upscale relative who also died of it. Nicole Bruce made the most of her scenes as a demented homeless woman and a quite coherent vision of Ethel Rosenberg. Liza Summers was coolly efficient as a nurse, and cast a striking figure as she literally flew in as the Angel of Angels.
Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center is a wild and brilliant, varied pastiche of scenes reflecting on mid-1980s America in the dark shadow of homophobia that was driven by the AIDS crisis.