15 December 2003

i wish perestroika were as good as millennium approaches.

we watched the second half of hbo's angels in america adaptation last night. it felt clunky. and...still compelling, though nothing like the first part. in the context of now, 2003 as opposed to 1993 (when the plays were written) the most tragic part of it is kushner's assertion (essentially the final words of the play) that people with AIDS will no longer die secret deaths.

i mean, thank God for protease inhibitors, but AIDS is not a chronic-but-manageable condition, really. it's still not containable. and...like good americans, we have forgotten the suffering of the rest of the world now that the suffering here in the US is a little more muted. there are millions of people dying deaths in africa that might not be secret there, but that don't get much attention over here. millions.

on a theatre, as opposed to a world-crisis, level, perestroika is just too grasping. alyssa said that it tries to answer too many of its questions, and i agree. the strongest parts of millennium approaches (and DAMN are they strong) are the exchanges between individuals -- conversations between louis and prior, joe and louis in the bathroom, joe and harper, roy cohn and ethel rosenberg. they manage to introduce huge and important themes without a big blinking sign that says LOOK! HUGE IMPORTANT THEMES AHEAD!

perestroika doesn't do so well with its big ideas. they are mostly just that -- ideas -- and we're never quite sure why, or if, we care. in the end, i just wasn't impressed with the mike nichols/emma thompson rendering of the angel -- the embodiment of these big ideas. still...the roy cohn scenes were incredible. it's a testament to the power of tony kushner's imagination that we can feel so disgusted, and appalled, and angry, at this man and still want ethel rosenberg to sing to him before he dies. and he killed her!