Angels in America was a fascinating tale about homosexual life in Manhattan in the 1980s, and although many of the social allusions were out of date, the work's substance and relevance are still pertinent in today's cultural and political atmosphere. No modern play has succeeded so indisputably in confronting Reaganism or McCarthyism, religion and immigrants, and even AIDS against the context of New York City in the mid-1980s. The drama revolves around three groups of individuals and their interactions. One is Louis Ironson and Prior Walter, his AIDS-affected partner. Louis is unable to deal as Prior's illness worsens. Joe Pitt, a Mormon legal clerk, and his worried, pill-addicted spouse, Harper Pitt, are next. The Pitts struggle to comprehend Joe's secret homosexuality, especially in light of their stringent religious convictions. Finally, the plot follows Roy Cohn, a closeted lawyer who is largely based on a historical man, as he confronts allegations of removal from office from the New York Bar. Cohn is also dealing with a surprise diagnosis of AIDS and a lifelong denial of the affliction. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the play has a number of humorous moments. They act as a shield against the film's overall grim particular topic, allowing viewers to chuckle when tears may be more suitable. In light of our increasingly accepting culture, it's difficult to truly comprehend the closed character of gay life in the 1980s.
The play's overarching narrative revolves around fears about the AIDS pandemic and the government's purportedly lackadaisical approach to it. The play's central theme, however, is the ethically and morally corrupt nature of American civilization. As Louis proclaims in act three, 'There are no angels in America, no spiritual past, no racial past, there`s only the political.' (Kushner, act 3, sc. 2) Kushner claims that America is a constantly shifting power struggle between diverse factions and individuals. The human predicament, according to Kushner, is a never-ending huge conflict in a dysfunctional society, a brutal battle between progressive and regressive forces in the lack of any leading ideals. Explaining his drama, Tony Kushner said, 'The question I am trying to ask is how broad is a community's embrace. How wide does it reach?' 'Community' encompasses both personal links and political ties that we can define as democratic citizenship.
In its most basic form, Angels in America's storyline revolves around the destruction and re-creation of both types of communities. Kushner's favorite topic is the antagonism between stability and change, which he introduces throughout the first act of the play. The impulse to block change to maintain the past while ignoring or suppressing the future is a normal reaction in a society filled with dread. Because identity groups are among the forms of connections around which societies emerge, the play's topic of identity is inextricably linked to the idea of community. Although we often conceive of white people as deficient in identity, all of the protagonists in this drama are ethnically branded. Furthermore, the homosexuality of the male heroes defines them.
'Angels in America' is a 31-year-old film that explores identity in a way that is as important now as it was 31 years ago. The play's difficulties, combined with a persistently positive view, make 'Angels in America' a tribute to the sociopolitical mindset.