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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton Players present “Angels in America Part One…”

<iday, Feb. 19, the Theater and Dance department premiered “Angels in America Part One: Millenium Approaches,” by Tony Kushner.  The play is one of three that the department will showcase this year and tells the story of two troubled couples, one heterosexual and the other homosexual.

Louis and Prior have been in a committed relation for five years, and when Prior informs Louis that he has contracted AIDS, Louis abandons him after realizing that he can’t handle confronting death. Louis is left to face death with the help of his friend Belize. Harper and Joe are a Mormon couple plagued by Joe’s closeted homosexuality and Harper’s addiction to Valium. The couples soon meet and their stories and fate intertwine and unravel. 

Director David Wiles said in an email interview that the department chose to produce this play because, “we try to choose plays that we think are important in terms of the impact they’ve had on the theatrical culture, and that can engage the kind of enduring questions that people are always dealing with.
Since our audience is primarily made up of Carleton students, faculty and staff, we furthermore tend to choose plays that in some way touch on subjects that are dealt with in other academic disciplines and are topics of concern outside the classroom.”

As the play highlights “personal morals and the politics of left and right, race, sexual preference, AIDS and religion as they affect the way people live their lives,” it was an ideal choice for the Theater and Dance department.

“Angels in America” also has several messages embedded in the language and performance of the play.
“The primary message I get is that in any conflict between our moral/political values and our obligations to the people we say are important to us, choose the people,” said Wiles.

This conflict is apparent in Louis’s departure from Prior and Joe’s commitment to Harper, a wife who he loves but does not desire.

When asked what he hopes people get from the play, Wiles responded, “for those people who have not seen a lot a plays, I hope they gain an appreciation for the intimacy and power of live theater. For those folks who hold tightly to their political views, I hope they are affected by the respect with which the play and our production treats political and religious values that may be different from theirs.”

Carleton’s performance of “Angels in America Part One: Millenium Approaches,” will run through Saturday, Feb. 27th.

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