Emotional, Intellectual, Imaginative, and Frank
Angels in America, Part Two tackles AIDS issues with bravery
Pamela S. Thompson, Lincoln Journal Star, March 31, 2012
Most people remember America in the 1980s from its trends – the Rubik's cube, shoulder pads, Pac-Man, Cabbage Patch dolls, and MTV.
In Tony Kushner's epic drama Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, performed at theHaymarket Theatre, the drama involves the bigger issue of an America coming to grips with the advent of AIDS . . .
This production, directed by Bob Hall, is sleek and faithful to Kushner's highly literate, complex, and multilayered script from 1992. The play focuses on a group of people in New York who intersect in various, overlapping ways, all wrestling with issues involving love, betrayal, and guild within the context of AIDS. This emotional, intellectual, imaginative, and frank drama frequently is humorous and slightly surreal. The explicit, mature subject matter deals squarely with topics steered away from at the polite dinner table: religion, sex, death, and politics.
It most certainly is not family entertainment . . .
The cast turns in solid acting throughout, although masterful performances come from Andy Dillehay as Prior Walter and Matt Lukasiewicz as Joe Pitt. Particularly effective is Summer Widhalm as Harper Pitt, for whom the loss of love brings about a descent into madness that is somehow both funny and painful.
Just like the AIDS crisis itself, this is a play that has weight, one that takes courage to stage. Bob Hall and his team are to be congratulated for their bravery.
This Flatwater Shakespeare Company and Haymarket Theatre production continues Sunday, April 1, and Thursdays through Sundays, April 5-8 and 12-15, at The Haymarket Theatre, 803 “Q” Street in Lincoln. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 402-477-2600 for reservations.
Photo: Nathan Weiss as Louis, Andy Dillehay as Prior, and Elizabeth Govaerts as Nurse Emily in the Flatwater Shakespeare / Haymarket Theatre production of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. Photo Credit: John Nollendorfs.