Angels in America

needsalife87's picture

So recently I picked up Angels In America Parts one and two to read not only becuase I am about to perform the Laramie project in about seven weeks, but becuase I am a complete drama fanatic that has two much time on her hands. After finishing the plays and spending much needed time looking over there meanings and values I have decided that these two plays are probably two of the best plays I have ever read. I mean, the characters were awesome and of course the themes were extremely deep. I ended up hating Louis and feeling kind of sorry for Joe. I just want to know what you guys think about the plays if you've read them. I'm dying for input from other people on these becuase as of right now I'm the only person other than like one other who's read them in my drama class.

So, what did you guys think?

linds's picture

hmm.

It's been a while, I read it a couple of years ago, but I remember thinking that on the whole the first half was much more impressive than the second half.

I had an older person -- who was living in NYC and saw it open on Broadway back then -- tell me that I couldn't possibly know what the show meant to "the community" at that time, that it was this incredibly affirming play at exactly the right moment, truly a play "for us". So I guess I regard it as an incredibly important piece of recent history?

~Linds

-----
Special Envoy to Tea-Drinking Nations for The Movement To Free Oompa Loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

jeff's picture

Yeah

I never got to see it on broadway, but I saw a good regional production last year in SF, just a college doing it, but good actors. would like to see the second part at some point...

But Laramie Project? not a fan...

Jeff

needsalife87's picture

Just curious.......

Why not a fan of The Laramie Project?

jeff's picture

It's just outsider nonsense...

I saw Laramie project in NYC, with the original cast, shortly after it opened, so I not only saw the text, but I saw it with the people who went to Wyoming, interviewed people, blah blah blah.

My problem with the show is that it claims moral high ground because it is art. It lampoons the media circus that descended on the town when, in fact, this group of actors was doing the same exact thing. It is amazing liberal hubris to think that only they told the stories of the people of the real Laramie and not painted it like a big caricature of a redneck, backwater wasteland.

I think the media did a very good job with the coverage. Was it a circus? Yes, but I don't think it was much different for a Laramie resident if PrimeTime Live shoved a camera and mic in your face, or some actor from NYC talked to you on your porch. The difference only existed in the mind of actors from NYC who got on a plane to Wyoming with their moral high ground in place.

I just felt the whole thing was tainted by positioning itself as better and outside of that moment, when they were a part of it. Now, don't get me wrong, i think they got good material and there were some good moments in it. And I am a HUGE fan of gross Indecencies, the play Moises Kaufman did about Oscar Wilde, which was ten times better and is probably being staged ten times less than Laramie Project.

I think the media could have gotten these stories, and did in many cases, but if you have a 10 minute segment on television, the format doesn't allow for much tangental backstories and everything. So, they have two-plus hours to get into these stories, and that is the freedom you have with a play. It doesn't make them better than film documentarians, or primetime news magazine, or feature stories in national magazine, or anything else. It means, TV people went and edited TV broadcasts from their material, journalists wrote words from transcribed interviews, and when actors go and do the same, they turn it into theater and try to present a more human face on it. With the luxury of it coming out months and months later, no less, because they were the only people there without rigid deadlines. Amazing that they got a more human, polished piece almost a year after it happened, unlike the media whose stuff appeared a day later. I just felt that superiority in the subtext of the whole piece and it tainted it for me.

As for the movie version of LP, i thought it was done well, but using the original cast playing themselves, to me, was a mistake. I think the original cast should have played the Laramie residents, and let the known faces be the actors from NYC. Why make the anonymous residents of Laramie be people I recognize from The Practice and Dawson's Creek, etc., and the people who are playing the liberal actors are all unknowns. I mean, the faces I knew I knew because I know they are actors, so flip it around and you'd have a good movie. I know Camryn Manheim is an actress, and not a resident of Laramie, Wyoming, so why not let her play an actress, and have these unknown actors playing the residents, it would be much easier to buy into that, as far as I was concerned. Just seemed to be the wrong choice to me.

Jeff