Volume 73, Issue 21
March 22, 2002

Angels in America addresses 80s issues, concerns

Jen Daley

This week's drama thesis, Angels In America, will be performed Thursday, March 22 and Friday March 23 at 8 p.m. in Tawes Theatre. The play is written by Tony Kushner and directed by WC senior Tamanya Garza.

"The play is set in the mid-80s, the golden years of 'Reaganite' politics and the most painful years of the AIDS epidemic. It centers around 8 characters, each of whom are, like the world itself, on the edge of something new and frightening," said Garza.

She added, "[They are] worried about everything from keeping their marriages together, to living to see one more day with the millennium fast approaching. The play shows what they sacrifice and how they struggle to find love, acceptance, happiness and understanding when they feel like everything around them is about to disintegrate."

When asked what will draw the audience to come and see Angels In America, Garza responded, "I think a lot of people have heard about play (it won a whole bunch of prizes like a Pulitzer, Tony's, etc.), and even for those that don't know it, just the title, Angels In America, sounds intriguing."

Junior cast member Nedim Heto commented, "This play has more than just one theme to it. It covers so many themes and modern issues such as homosexuality, AIDS and relationships, and coping with death. The list just goes on. It is its diversity of characters and themes that will draw all types of audiences."

He continued, "For anyone who knows the play, it has some very difficult yet touching moments, and I think those people will come to see how we as a cast and crew dealt with [them] ... it's such and intoxicating story."

Sophomore and cast member Dave Gallara said, "I think that the audience will be drawn to this play based on the fact that there are so many issues involved in its dialogue. Although the play takes place in 1985, it touches on many different controversial topics that are still pertinent today."

Garza explained how she chose this play: "I read this play for a Contemporary Theater class taught by Dale Daigle my sophomore year and I remember it being so riveting and so incredible that I couldn't put it down and kept re-reading it for days."

"It touched on a lot of subjects that I personally have spent a lot of time trying to figure out like where religion fits in to modern society (if it has a place at all), why something as horrific as AIDS was allowed to run rampant for so many years before it gained proper attention, if there is a right way to love someone, how you make it when you feel like everything around you is falling apart," she said.

"But each of the characters, despite the fact that they tackled some really heavy topics, was so real and so hilarious I was just drawn to the story on every level. I loved the sarcasm, I loved the story," continued Garza.

She added, "I loved the fact that the playwright never did anything that I expected and made me love and then hate and then love again each character from scene to scene. It was quite simply the best play I had ever read, and the kind of story I felt needed to be shared because so many people would be able to relate to so much in it."

Sophomore cast member Molly Williams commented on the hard work that was required: "I love working on this play. I've never worked so hard at developing a character, and I've never really been in a real play before, as far as serious content. We've put so much time into it I know it's going to be amazing."

She added, "[It] was like a big family, and we love our director, and it's going to be a sad relief when it's all over. I really feel honored to be able to be a part of this production."

Gallara explained how his character, Joe Pitt, is quite relatable in real life: "One aspect of Joe is that he is afraid of disappointing people and letting people down. This can probably be said about many people and they can sympathize with him in that regard."

Sophomore cast member Sharif Dodd explained how he connects to his character, Belize "the former drag queen. I relate to the character of Belize because I care for my friends and always want to be a source of happiness in their lives."

Sophomore Melissa Maenner said of Garza, "Tamanya really knew how she wanted the show to go, and it's been amazing working such gifted director."