The Title of the Play; Angels in America
According to Tony Kushner play writer, the title gives the impression of actual spiritual nature in the United States. The play is his great amazing achievement in his playwriting, which bring him celebrity and broad success all over the world. According to Prior, a character in the play, there are actual angels in their fair country (Kushner, 21). He said that the angel crashed through his ceiling this implies that there was one angel at least. In United State the angel implies that she is the spiritual essence hence referred as the continental principality in the country.
The play is divided into two parts since it is very long. In part one; millennium approaches, there are a thousand years between a millennium. In the current millennium it started the year 2000 and will end in the year 3000. There is fallacy that people tend to assume saying that the world is going to end when the millennium arrives. The scenario of people getting worried of the expected changes was experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s. The characters in the play demonstrate how the transformation frightens the Americans.
What role does it play in the shaping of the theme?
The play derives various themes such as community, identity, and stasis versus change. On the community theme the writer, Tony Kushner stipulates that, “the question I am trying to ask is how broad a community’s embrace is”. The writer of the play wants to know the extent that the community reaches. In this play community is regarded as both political bond and personal bond between peoples. Political bonds are also regarded as the democratic citizenship.
Generally, angles in America analyses how both kinds of community are devastated and then reconstructed. For instance, in Millennium, relationships come to end; Roy contorts and stretches the law, in the end the characters engage in loneliness and isolation. The destruction of the community is symbolized by the physical destruction resulting from appearance of the angle at the end of part 1. However, Perestroika reconstructs community in unexpected and new way.
The theme of identity is based on the community in the play since the identity groups are the subsets of the community. All the character in the play is linked with ethnicity. The ethnic groups refers to Jewish, Mormon, WASP and the blacks. It is also noticed in the play that the male character are identified and recognized with their homosexuality behaviors (Frantzen, p. 54). However the lesson from this play is that identity should not be discarded for the formation of the community. In the other words, identity should not be the basis to form community.
The play also plays role of stasis versus change theme being opposing each other. In then desperation world, the desire to stop change by preserving the past and doing away with the future is evident in the play. The anti-migratory effect is echoed by Rabbi, Sister Ella and Emily the nurse. The issue of bring changes into a halt is also speculated by the angles who gives order prior to make humanity halt its ceaseless motion. The characters are in the favors of the stability rather than changes that comes to destruct their ways of living. Some characters are frightened about the change and they would choose the familiarity and comfort of the world that they are used to. For instance, Harper in the beginning of the play is frightened by the changes that she is experiencing. She fears that she is going to lose her sanity, husband and her home.
What is it saying about America?
The play is based in the sense of the Americans in the late 80s and the early 90s. The play is focusing on the mood of the America by outlining the millennial consciousness more than the apocalyptic consciousness. The American was eagerly waiting for the bath of 2000. The awaiting of the millennia came with different theories, postmodern forms of old out-of-date tropes regarding the arrival of 2000. Therefore, the movie represent the moment that American were waiting for the transformation of the world. They were expecting something extraordinary and huge to happen.
The play also outlines the effect and the issues of migration among the American citizens. Due to migration the Prior’s family was able to land in America as well as Louis’s immigrant and Belize’s slave ancestors. The migration in the play is regarded as an inerasable and unavoidable human drive. In a broad manner, the writer tries to illustrate that the American democracy and its national politics have to be able to contain the reactive impulse. Rather than seeking the ideas and existence from the past, the play advices the Americans to embrace changes particularly those changes that are terrifying to some people. The writer also wants to give teaching to those Americans that are separated by political, personal and identity issues. They should therefore, join hands irrespective of their identity.
Frantzen, Allen J. Before the Closet: Same-sex Love from Beowulf to Angels in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Print.
Geis, Deborah R, and Steven F. Kruger. Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997. Print.
Kushner, Tony. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. Print.
Nielsen, Ken. Tony Kushner's Angels in America. London: Continuum, 2008. Print.