9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Play That Needs A Theatre, 12 Aug 2007
I was lucky enough to buy my copy of this play as part of the programme for a touring stage production of 'Angels in America', a production which I loved. Being able to read the text having seen the play was wonderful - Kushner's writing is extremely funny and moving, and just seeing the play you can't hope to remember all the great lines and moments - and I would strongly recomment this edition as it prints both parts side by side.
The play is dramatic and energetic, and this comes through in the text - readers may be a little astounded with the variety and speed of Kushner's scenes - the Antarctic, a hospital, an office, heaven; you name it and this play's probably got it - but this really does work on stage, and makes for an exciting awnd compelling plot
In its scope the play is impressive; it deals with relationships, death, AIDs and homosexuality in 1980s America by creating sympathetic characters (even the unfortunately real life and really unpleasant character of Roy Cohn gains maybe a few grains of sympathy at the end; it's worth noticing how often the stage directions for his speech advocated a 'scared' delivery) which recreate huge promlems on a smaller, human scale. It also takes its subject matter to a more epic level by introducing the guardian angels of the earth, and dealing with spirituality and religion in an increasingly atheistic society. Although set now twenty years in the past, the play still has a great deal of contemporary relevance, and offers a lot to learn on many levels.
At times when reading, the play may feel rather more pretentious than epic, particularly the ending which seems rather saccharine, so while I advocate reading this play - it should move you, make you think and entertain you, what more can you ask? - I would also urge you to remember it is a play, and to seek out a production of it (there is a film, available from Amazon, but whether it is any good, I don't know). Even more than most plays, Kushner's work cries out for the stage, turning saccharine ending into a profound and tear jerking climax, allowing you to fully enjoy his theatricality and bringing this complex work to life. So keep your eyes peeled and an ear to the ground until you find a production. But until then, read the script and enjoy it that way.