"Angels in America" Changed My Life

Ithaca College's production of Angel's in America is running until October 13th, and let me tell you it is worth sacrificing both your time and money to see it. Walking into the theater I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew the generic backstory: the play takes place in 1985 and follows a group of people living New York City who's lives cross due to sexuality, careers, AIDs, and hallucinations. The show explores a variety of conflicting and combining topics including reputation, sexuality, AIDs, mental health, isolation, death, legacy - the topics are endless. 

The play itself takes about 3 hours and is part 1 of the story written by Tony Kushner. Walking into the theater, I was afraid that the story would drag (the only other thing that had ever sat through that was this long was the extended additions of the lord of the rings movies), and yet I found that each act flew by, leaving me astounded that it had already been nearly an hour. I think that is the most crucial part of this play: it sucks you in and you find your investment is not just of an audience member, but as an active participant. I don't mean that there is actual audience participation: there isn't. But the dynamics of the characters and their lives feel so real and conflicting, painful and also humorous, so devastating but also mundane, that it is impossible not to find yourself sucked in. I'm not entirely sure that this is everyone's experience of watching the show, but I know that there were moments that I felt punched in the gut or the heart directly after laughing uncontrollably. There were moments when I had to grab my friends hand and squeeze tight because the dialogue felt too close to home. 

This production is art - not because it puts human experience on a pedestal, but because it brings it back down to earth again. It manages the complexities of individual experience and structural universality with precision and grace.  

 

1