Editorial Reviews. Review. Tony Kushner's Angels in America is that rare entity: a Advanced Search. site Store · site eBooks · History. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Revised and Complete Edition by Tony Kushner. Read online. A revised and complete edition of this modern classic, featuring a new foreword from author Tony Kushner. "Part one: Millennium Approaches - Part two: Perestroika"--Title page verso. Introduction by the Playwright; PART ONE: Millennium Approaches; PART TWO: Perestroika; Notes.

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Read "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes Revised and Complete Edition" by Tony Kushner available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today . Angels in America, Part 1. Millennium Approaches. by Tony Kushner. ebook. 1 of 1 copy The first part of Tony Kushner's epic drama of America in the s. The first part of Tony Kushner's epic drama of America in the s. "A vast Angels in America, Part 1. Millennium Approaches. by Tony Kushner. ebook.

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Angels in America: Tony Kushner Publisher: New York: Theatre Communications Group, Revised edition View all editions and formats Summary: A revised and complete edition of this modern classic, featuring a new foreword from author Tony Kushner. Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Print version: Kushner, Tony.

Document, Internet resource Document Type: Tony Kushner Find more information about: Tony Kushner. Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. With his back-channel access and wheeler-dealer savvy, Roy also fits with more modern stereotypes of Jews as quietly influential overlords. Kushner does not try to obscure this linkagehe revels in it.

The first scene in which Roy appears announces him as a grandly over-the-top villain for whom subtlety is less important than showmanship. By making Roy the cousin of these Jewish stereotypes, the play ironically highlights his own ill- concealed anti-Semitism and homophobia. Roy assumes he is persecuted for his Judaism in part because he does not like other Jews; part of what fuels his hatred of Ethel is her Jewishness likewise, his attraction to Joe is indivisible from Joe's image as an all-American Gentile.

But, the play suggests, what makes Roy a monster is not his Judaism but his prejudice, ironically targeted at his own. The traces of Judaism or homosexuality in Roy's persona humorously hinted at in his first scene, for instance, by his affection for the musical La Cage Aux Folles cannot be eradicated, and in death his link to his ancestral communities only grows stronger.

But while he lives, Roy's isolation from his natural identity contributes to his twisted villainy and his unprofessed but profound loneliness. How wide does it reach? In simplified form, the plot of Angels in America focuses on the fact that both kinds of community are destroyed and then recreated. In Millennium, relationships end, Roy stretches and contorts the law, the characters slide further into isolation and loneliness. All this wreckage is symbolized by the physical destruction caused by the Angel's appearance at the end of Part One.

But Perestroika reconstitutes community in new and unlikely ways, forging bonds between seemingly unconnected characters Hannah and Prior, Prior and Harper and repudiating those, like Joe, who see law as unconnected to morality.

Louis's optimism for democracy is naive but not invaliddemocratic community is even able to withstand the crisis of AIDS. Even Roy, the play's most difficult character, is not abandoned to the wilds of isolation: his death unwittingly links him to communities he had abandonedgays and lesbians, people with AIDS, Jewsand he is reclaimed, albeit with difficulty, by those with whom he had tried to sever all connections. Identity: ethnicity, race, homosexuality The theme of identity is closely tied to the play's notion of community, since identity groups are one of the types of connection around which communities form.

Although we are accustomed to thinking of white people as lacking an identity, in this play all the characters are marked by ethnicity: WASP, Jewish, Mormon, as well as black; in addition, the male characters are defined by their homosexuality.

Even AIDS infection serves as an identity type, written into the skin as visibly as race. Identity can certainly have a divisive power: Louis's callousness about race and his suspicion that Belize is anti-Semitic drive a wedge between them, while Prior's AIDS infection is too great a barrier for Louis to overcome. Nor is Kushner sentimental about the ability of identity to connect people automatically, since characters like Roy do their best to deny their membership in oppressed groups though that denial is erased by his death.

But one lesson of Angels is that identity need not be discarded for communities to formthe melting pot need not melt. Despite Prior's misgivings, for instance, Hannah accepts him as a gay man even though she is a Mormon.

In the epilogue, the characters are not required to paper over their differences. Quite the contrary: those differences serve as a kind of glue that welds them together. They are diverse yet mutually dependent. Stasis versus change From the first scene of the play, the opposition between stasis and change is Kushner's favorite theme.

In a world filled with despair, the desire to halt changeto preserve the past and ignore or suppress the futureis a natural reaction. This anti-migratory impulse is voiced by Rabbi Chemelwitz, Emily the nurse and Sister Ella Chapter, and most spectacularly by the Angels, who order Prior to make humanity stop its ceaseless motion.

The Angel chooses Prior as her prophet because of the ancient, rooted history of his family and because as Belize detects he secretly shares their reaction. But as events make abundantly clear, that desire is literally reactionarydestructive, and at odds with the progressive values of the play.

Migration, which brought Prior's family to America as well as Belize's slave ancestors and Louis's immigrant ones, and which carried the Mormons across the continent to Utah, is an inevitable and inerasable human drive.

More broadly speaking, Kushner implies that our democracy and our national politics must resist this reactive impulse. Rather than seeking a haven in an idealized s past, America needs to embrace even those changes that frighten some people especially the growth of a politically active and culturally accepted gay and lesbian minority.

Motifs Biblical references In addition to its overarching story about angels, God and Heaven, Angels in America is studded with specific references to the Bible.

Louis asks Rabbi Chemelwitz what the Scriptures say about someone who abandons a loved one; Joe tells the story of Jacob wrestling the Angel; Louis compares a wound on his forehead to the Mark of Cain; Roy mentions the story of Isaac and Jacob and the Book of Isaiah. Partly, these references help establish a sacred atmosphere by linking modern America to the world of the Bible, they help convince us that prophecy is indeed feasible in secular times.

The skeptical audience member is like Prior listening to Hannah describe the appearance of an angel to Joseph Smith: disbelieving but gradually convincible.

Moreover, the Biblical allusions foreshadow the real events of the play, so that Joe's description of Jacob's encounter with the angel lays the groundwork for Prior'slike Jacob, he wrestles the Angel into submission and discovers a ladder leading to Heaven.

In another instance, Roy tells Joe that unlike Isaac, he gives his blessing freelybut the comparison proves more apt a moment later when Joe reveals he is living with a man, and Roy feels the pang of a father at what he perceives as the missteps of a wayward son. Politics In as opinionated a profession as writing, Tony Kushner stands out for the vehemence with which he voices his politics and the directness with which he incorporates them into his work.

Although it is always dangerous to equate a writer with the opinions expressed in his or her works, in the case of Angels the play's if not Kushner's political platform is unmistakable.

The most villainous characters are conservative Republicans, the heroes tolerant and left-wing; and throughout figures like Reagan, George Bush and Newt Gingrich are subjected to continuous rhetorical assault, only incompletely parried by Joewho is himself discredited near the play's end.

The intention of these political interjections does not seem to be the advocacy of a particular party or candidate, or even broader ideological persuasionmerely promoting Democrats over Republicans would be far too parochial an aim for a work of literature, and besides, it is safe to assume that most of the play's audiences shared Kushner's point of view.

The larger purpose is to exhort well-meaning liberals like Louis to shed their blinders and work more fervently for political change. Beyond exhortation, though, the politics of Angels remain inseparable from its morality, philosophy and vision of community. Religion, especially Mormonism and Judaism In some ways, the two religions that recur again and again in Angels seem irreconcilably differentJews and Mormons, after all, are rarely linked in the popular imagination or indeed in real life.

Jews tend to be leftist urbanites, while Mormons are concentrated in the conservative precincts of Utah; Judaism is one of the world's oldest religions while Mormonism is even younger than the United States. Louis's shock at encountering a Mormon in New York and his unconcealed derision for the churchhe calls it a "cult"reflect this apparent incongruity.

But the play symbolically joins Mormons and Jews with one another and with America itself. Both religions are separated from the wider society by their own inward focus as well as by prejudice and lack of understanding. That prejudice compelled both peoples to make epic migrations, which Rabbi Chemelwitz calls the world's Great Voyages. And both faiths make moral demands on their adherents, legitimate and illegitimate. The religious commandment to loyalty overshadows both Louis and Joe after they leave their partners, and their beliefs add to their feelings of guilt.

More problematically, the two religions traditionally frown on homosexuality, adding to the characters' lack of self-esteem. The play values Mormonism and Judaism for their cultural connotations, the way in which they are separate from the mainstream yet entirely and distinctively American. At their best, they are both caring and valuable communities. But their particular religious doctrines are rarely invoked or examined, except as literary allusions.

For all the visibility of religion, this is not a particularly religious playthe secular faith of democracy and civic idealism is ultimately what binds the characters together in the utopian epilogue. Symbols San Francisco The city of San Francisco symbolizes both the failed society that the Angels try to perpetuate as well as the promise of an ideal, gay-inflected community that the play's ending promises. Heaven resembles San Francisco after the huge earthquake of , the day on which God abandoned his people forever.

His departure is as devastating to the Angels as the quake was to the city. But while Heaven remains in a state of permanent rubble and decay, the real San Francisco was almost immediately rebuilt, becoming, as Prior tells Harper, a place of "unspeakable" beauty.

The San Francisco metaphor thus contrasts the untenable stasis of the Angels with the ceaseless energy and determination of human beings. The city also represents the longed-for ideal society the characters attempt to build in the epilogue. Westward migration has always represented hope in America, but earlier migrations like that of the Mormons only replicated the emptiness and isolation they sought to leave behind. Now, in the last scene, Harper is migrating even farther west, as far west as she can go in America, to a place famous for its tolerance, loveliness, and left-wing politics, a city that is not coincidentally America's gay capital.

The gathering on the rim of the Bethesda Fountain could have easily been staged in San Francisco's Castro Districtboth locations represent voluntary community, inclusion, civic participation, and personal promise. He is preaching the funeral of Sarah Ironson, the grandmother of a large, assimilated Jewish family. Rabbi Chemelwitz admits he did not know Sarah, whose later years in the Bronx Home for Aged Hebrews were sad and quiet, but that he knows her type: the strong, uncomplaining peasant women of Eastern Europe who immigrated to America to build authentic homes for their children.

Her kind soon will no longer exist, he says. Scene 1 Meanwhile, Joe Pitt is waiting in Roy Cohn's office while Roy nimbly manipulates several blinking phone lines.

Roy switches between arguing with a client whose court date he missed, arranging theater tickets for the wife of a visiting judge, and cursing out an underling. Joe watches him uncomfortably. As Roy uses swear words, Joe asks him not to take the Lord's name in vain, explaining that he is a Mormon. Roy praises Joe's work as a judicial clerkhe writes decisions for his boss to signand then offers him a powerful job in the Justice Department. Joe, pleased but surprised, says he needs to talk to his wife.

Scene 3 Joe's wife Harper is sitting alone in their apartment talking to herself and worryingshe imagines the ozone layer disappearing. Lies, a travel agent who Harper imagines, suddenly appears. Harper asks for a guided tour of Antarctica to see the hole in the ozone layer.

She confesses her terrible fears about the world and the state of her marriage. Joe returns home and Mr. Lies vanishes; he asks her if she would like to move to Washington. They are sitting on a bench outside the funeral home and Louis is about to leave for the cemetery. He remembers his grandmother and apologizes to Prior for not introducing him, saying that family events make him feel closeted.

Louis asks why Prior is in a bad mood, assuming it is because their cat, Little Sheba, is missing. Instead, Prior rolls up his sleeve and reveals a Kaposi's sarcoma lesion, an infectious disease that accompanies AIDS. Prior is glib but Louis panics, grabbing him; Prior admits he did not tell him earlier because he is afraid Louis will leave him.

Louis says he needs to go to the cemetery but promises he will come back afterwards. Scene 5 Joe asks Harper if she is willing to move to Washington, but she asks him to turn the job down, offering a series of lame, unconvincing excuses and ridiculous fears.

Joe asks her how many Valium pills she has taken today; after first denying it, she admits she has had three. At first he tries to calm her, promising that things are changing for good in the world, but then gets angry at her obstinacy and accuses her of having emotional problems.

When they make up, Harper suggests they try oral sex, but Joe is shocked and unnerved. Meanwhile, across the stage, Louis asks Rabbi Chemelwitz what the Bible says about someone who abandons a loved one in a time of need, confessing that he is afraid of disease and death. The rabbi has no satisfying answer for him. Analysis Although the beginning of Act One only gives brief glimpses of the play's central characters, it nevertheless reveals the conflicts that will confront them for the rest of the play.

Louis and Prior experience a terrible shockPrior's revelation that he has AIDSand that awful moment signals the inevitable destruction of their relationship. Prior tells Louis he is afraid he will leave him, but rather than comforting him or telling him he loves him, Louis just says "Oh," then says he has to go. Only with prompting does Louis say he will come home.

From that queasy beginning we can predict the downward arc of their relationship and Louis's agonized questions to the rabbi only confirm our suspicions. Similarly, the brief pause with which Joe says he was "justout" and that Harper has nothing to get anxious about indicates the opposite she has something significant indeed to make her anxious, the state of her marriage, as she confesses to Mr. These seemingly tiny moments and phrases are miniature versions of larger, future patterns. The beginning of the play also presages some of the most important recurring themes in Angels in America.

In particular, Rabbi Chemelwitz's opening monologue introduces an idea that becomes especially critical after the Angel's appearance in Perestroika: the opposition between continuity and change.

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Sarah Ironson's journey to the New World is emblematic of the human tendency and the necessity to migrate, the necessity that so troubles the Angels in Part Two of the play. Her migration was literally motivated by survival, an escape from oppression, yet it is symbolic of every person's need to move.

As the rabbi says, "In you that journey is""you" being both the audience members and the other characters in the play, including Louis and Prior, as yet unseen in the crowd at Sarah's funeral. Yet even within the context of Sarah's migration an anti-migratory impulse is also present. The rabbi points out that Sarah Ironson and her kind tried to recreate the Old World in the New, to stave off the disruptive influence of a completely new society and, in particular, that of America, the world's most famously changing and changeable country.

That this reactionary impulse is ultimately thwarted can be detected in the very un-Jewish names of Sarah's descendants. But the desire to prevent change moves Sarah and people like her to take on a heavy burden, one which she metaphorically carries "on her back" and which eventually distances her from the fully assimilated grandchildren on whose behalf she sacrifices. The rabbi is wrong on one count, when he says that "such Great Voyagesdo not any more exist. The play is a voyage in the political sense, too, documenting the struggle for full citizenship by gays and lesbians and by people with AIDS.

In real life, Kushner argues for a politics of solidarity, in which different people's fights against oppression overlap and reinforce one another. In that light, it would be odd for him to endorse the idea that the immigrant experience is a unique Great Voyage that cannot be repeated.

In Kushner's universe, it is repeated constantly, by members of different groups who share the same dream of democratic inclusion.

Millennium Approaches, Act One, Scenes 69 Summary Scene 6 Joe stumbles upon Louis a week later crying in the bathroom in the courthouse where they both work. Joe asks him if he is all right and offers him a tissue. Louis complains bitterly about the other lawyers who saw him crying and fled the room, calling them heartless Reaganites. Louis teases him, suddenly kisses him on the cheek and leaves. Scene 7 In a dream, Prior is doing drag and trying to cheer himself up with makeup, but his depression over his health overwhelms him.

Suddenly, Harper appears, bewildered that Prior has appeared in her hallucination; Prior replies that it is actually his dream. In the revelatory atmosphere of the hallucination, she immediately recognizes that Prior is very sick; Prior, in turn, tells her that Joe is gay.

Harper denies it, but then in an instant of bonding understands it is true. She leaves, shattered. As Prior smears the makeup off his face, a gray feather falls from above, and a mysterious voice calls to him to "prepare the way.

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Harper, screaming, demands to know where Joe has been and what is going on with him. He thinks she is talking about his job, but she is talking about himhe terrifies her, she says.

They fight, and without warning she demands to know if he is "a homo. Harper has no patience for his pieties and tells him she is going to have a baby. He cannot tell if she is lying, but she replies grimly that they both have a secret now.

On the other side of the stage, Louis tells Prior about his vision of the afterlifeit is the weighing of a life that counts, not the verdict. But when Prior tells him about the progress of his disease, Louis becomes very upset. He asks Prior if he would hate him forever if he walked out on him; Prior says yes.

Henry tells Roy that a lesion he has just removed from his body is most likely Kaposi's sarcoma, and that he has other symptoms of AIDS as well. Noting that AIDS mostly affects homosexuals and drug addicts, Roy tries to force the doctor to say out loud that he is gay, although he threatens to destroy his career if he does. Roy tells him that labels like "gay" and "AIDS" do not describe real things but simply a person's clout. Homosexuals, he says, are not men who have sex with other men but men who have no power.

He is a "heterosexualwho fucks around with guys," and he insists that his disease be described as liver cancer, not AIDS. Analysis Scene Seven is the first real indication that Angels in America has a supernatural element. Lies's appearance in Scene Three could be explained away as being a figment of Harper's imagination, but in this scene Prior and Harper exchange information that will bear directly on the plot, information that Harper in particular could not have obtained in any "realistic" way.

This scene is only the beginning: in the course of the play Kushner creates ghosts, angels and talking mannequins, allows characters to be conjured "spectrally" by one another, and permits travel between earth and other planes of existence, like Heaven. These devices are not gimmicks, howeverthe play could not function without them.

This is obviously true of major plot elements like Prior's visitation by the Angel or Roy's confrontation with Ethel. But the supernatural also adds to the striking interconnectedness of the principal characters. Nearly all the main characters share links that join them alone and are not routed through the others; but while most of the characters encounter each other in life, fantasy provides the most plausible way for Prior and Harper or Louis and Harper to encounter each other.

This fantastical element places Angels in opposition to the long-dominant realist camp of American drama.

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Kobo eBook)

One need only consider Hamlet or The Tempest to see that unreality, magic, and fantastical apparitions are important elements of Western drama. But many prominent twentieth-century American playwrights have emphasized grittily realistic settings, hyperaccurate dialogue including dialect and obscenities and real-time events, often coupled with a depressingly pessimistic or cynical worldviewthink of Eugene O'Neill or David Mamet.

Part of the hugely positive critical reaction to Kushner's play may have been sparked by the central role of fantasythe play's very title describes it as a "fantasia.

Scene Nine presents a darker, all-too-real imageRoy Cohn's cynical view of politics and identity. Here, at the outset of the play, Roy presents the polar opposite of Kushner's own politics of solidarity.

Roy not only feels no solidarity with other oppressed groups, like women or racial minorities; he even rejects other gays and lesbians. Since his personal bonds with others are based not on affection or shared ideology but on power, this is not surprising.

Roy might desire another man, but desire is irrelevanthe only identifies with other powerful people, like Nancy Reagan, rather than powerless gays. A gay rights bill was introduced in the New York city council in , the first in the country, but gay activists could not get it passed until , the year after the setting of Act One. But the events of the play will demonstrate how wrong he is: the disbarment committee is so quick to rule in Act Four of Perestroika because Roy is a "little faggot," and AIDS cannot be held at bay no matter how many drugs Roy takes.

In real life, too, Kushner has noted that the newspaper coverage after Cohn died seemed to take a gleeful, homophobic pleasure in revealing his sexual orientation and his cause of death.

Roy's politics of clout may have benefited him for decades, but they fail in his hour of greatest struggle. Louis runs in, terrified; Prior is in terrible pain but refuses to go to the hospital. Louis runs out to call an ambulance, and while he is gone Prior has an accident that covers him in feces and blood.

He faints, and Louis quietly despairs. Scene 2 The same night, Joe comes home to find Harper sitting alone in the darkshe has been having drug-induced terrors. They talk about prayer, and he tells her that as a child he was fascinated with the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.

Harper admits that she is not sure whether she is going to have a baby, but adds that she thinks he should go to Washington without her. When he protests, she says she is going to leave him. She tries to console Louis, and to make conversation she asks Louis where the name Prior Walter came from.

He reflects bitterly on his weakness and lack of devotion in the face of Prior's illness, and tells Emily he has to go for a walk in the park to think. Scene 4 Joe and Roy sit in a bar late at night. Joe tells Roy about Harper's addiction, her difficult childhood and the strict standards of the Mormon Church.

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He says in spite of everything he loves Harper's troubled side best because of his own struggle to pass as a cheerful and upright person. Roy sympathizes but says that Joe belongs in Washington, with or without Harper. He tells Joe that he is prepared to be a father to him, to push him to achieve, in a way that might seem cold or unforgiving but which is really meant to toughen and protect him.

Then Roy discloses that he is dying of "cancer"; Joe is stunned. As Joe and Roy talk, Louis cruises a man played by the same actor who plays Prior in the Ramble, a deserted region of Central Park where men meet in the night for sex. Louis asks the man to punish him, and they begin to have sex. When the condom breaks, Louis tells the man he doesn't care whether he infects him or not, but the man grows uncomfortable and leaves.

Scene 5 Prior is visited in his hospital room by Belize, a black ex-drag queen who is his former lover and a dear friend.

Prior wants Louis by his side, but he is nowhere to be found. When he calms down, he tells Belize he has been hearing voices, but begs Belize not to tell the doctor since he also finds the voice sexually arousing and does not want to give it up. Belize tells Prior that no matter what, he will be by his side. As soon as Belize leaves, Prior resumes an interrupted conversation with the voice; it tells him that it is not a herald of death but a messenger sent to prepare him to perform a great work.

Analysis On first reading, Louis might seem like one of the play's villains, abandoning his lover at the time of his greatest need. But although Louis has human failings and commits an immoral act in leaving Prior, he is no villain, as Act II, Scene One helps us to understand. The depiction of Prior's illness is truly awful.

The screams in the night are frightening, and Louis's panic is entirely justified: Prior refuses to go to the hospital, but there is no way Louis can help him. He cannot even perform the simple task of cleaning his body, since Prior's blood is infectious. In addition to this physical and medical helplessness, the scene conveys the emotional difficulties Louis must suffer.

The gentle, witty Prior of years past is replaced by a person who screams and cries, shouts at Louis for touching him and faints without warninghe is entirely selfcentered, which is understandable but difficult for his lover. Faced with such a constant nightmare, Louis's actions become more comprehensible.

Kushner has said that at a time when an inadequate health care system and longer life expectancy are forcing more and more Americans to care for aging or sick relatives, he wanted to dramatize the simple truth that not everyone is a born healer and caretaker. Louis's eventual abandonment of Prior is extreme and selfish but, as this scene shows, perfectly human.

Louis's problem is exacerbated by his tendency towards abstraction and his unreasonably high standards for himself. Louis describes La Reine's unceasing devotion to William the Conqueror and laments his own comparative lack of devotion. But as critic Allen J. Frantzen has pointed out, this popular story about Mathilde and the tapestry is wrongit was actually created in England decades after the conquest. Louis, then, is holding himself to a mythological standard of loyalty, and he curses himself based on a positively unreal example.

This is part of a larger pattern of excessive guilt and harshness toward himself, which, paradoxically, prevents him from judging his own weaknesses accurately and trying to correct them. Because no one could possibly live up to Mathilde's example, Louis initially justifies his moral failure. Later, in Perestroika, he will arrive at a more genuine remorse and an honest understanding of what he has done.

Louis's conversation with Emily has another important function: it establishes Prior's ancient and very prestigious lineage.

Whereas Louis's ancestors were rootless immigrants, Prior's family is the epitome of stability, so much so that the sons all even bear the same name. What's more, as Mayflower descendants they must be socially prominent and possibly wealthy especially since, as the notes on the characters reveal, Prior lives off an inherited trust fund.

But this unbroken line will come to an end in our Prior: as a gay man, he will have no children, and as a person with AIDS he likely has only a short future left. Since he rarely works, he will not even add to the family's store of capital. The image of the tapestry provides a metaphor for the family linePrior represents the breaking of the thread. No wonder he might be attracted to the idea of halting the cruel march of history, since more than the other characters, with their obscure or impoverished immigrant backgrounds, Prior has something to lose.

Martin is trying to sell Joe on the idea of coming to Washington, telling him about the conservative renaissance under Ronald Reagan. To show off to Joe, Roy insults Martin and then asks him to rub his back, in order to demonstrate his absolute loyalty. The two men pressure Joe to accept their job offer. When Joe continues to hesitate, Roy switches tactics, telling Joe that his political opponents are attempting to disbar him. But at the Justice Department, Joe could coerce Roy's enemies into easing up.

Joe insists that he could never do something so unethical. Roy explodes, telling him that politics is "the game of being alive. Scene 7 On the steps of the courthouse where they work, Joe comes across Louis eating his lunch, and joins him. True to form, Louis baits him about his unhealthy mealthree hot dogs and a swig of Pepto-Bismoland his conservatism.

He turns philosophical, shuddering at the emptiness and isolation of modern America. Joe, in turn, describes his own private fears, his secret desire for emptiness and freedom. He decides suddenly that he cannot face going to work. Louis invites him to join him for the day instead. Louis's offer, and Joe's acceptance, is fraught with sexual ambiguity. She is startled and immediately assumes that Joe is in trouble. Then she begins to get angry and insists that he hang up and go home.

Without warning, he tells her that he is a homosexual.In a conversation with Emily, Prior's nurse, Louis is the one to describe Prior's venerable heritage, which introduces the themes of history and stability. Louis asks why Prior is in a bad mood, assuming it is because their cat, Little Sheba, is missing. Roy switches between arguing with a client whose court date he missed, arranging theater tickets for the wife of a visiting judge, and cursing out an underling.

It deals with controversial themes such as politics, disease, religion and family without seeming preachy, which the play never does. Your display name should be at least 2 characters long.

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