ANGELS IN AMERICA PARTE II Perestroika
by Tony Kushner
translated by Ferdinando Bruni (edita da Ubulibri)
a show by Ferdinando Bruni and Elio De Capitani
with Elio De Capitani, Ida Marinelli, Elena Russo Arman, Cristina Crippa, Cristian Maria Giammarini, Edoardo Ribatto, Fabrizio Matteini, Umberto Petranca. Sara Borsarelli
scenography Carlo Sala, costumes Ferdinando Bruni
video Francesco Frongia, lights Nando Frigerio
coproduced by Teatridithalia and Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione
with the contribution of Next
Running time 2h 45' with two 10' intermissions
The long-awaited début of Perestroika, part two of Angels in America, a collaboration between Theatridithalia and Emilia Romagna Teatro. Already a bestseller of the American theatre world where in the Nineties it garnered many awards, both with its theatre début and its TV version, the text by Tony Kushner, published in Italy by Ubulibri, has now been brought to the Italian stage by Ferdinando Bruni and Elio De Capitani. Having co-directed Millennium Approaches, Bruni and De Capitani are continuing and completing their undertaking with the staging of part two of Angels in America - Perestroika. Having received many awards for their staging of part one, they will also be using the original cast for part two.
Kushner portrays a febrile, omnivorous New York and sets the story in the mid-Eighties of the last century, the ideal setting from the anxieties of an era. This two-part contemporary saga weaves the lives of two ordinary, helpless men with those of narcissistic baroque angels, with psychotic hallucinations that become reality and with characters of recent American history.
Like and even more so than in part one, in Perestroika the game of mirrors with reality, imagination and representation is amplified by a succession of overlapping scenes and a doubling of characters, making for a veritable challenge for the creative imagination of the two directors.
In the final scene of part one we left Prior Walter, alone and afflicted with AIDS, dealing with an angel that had entered his home via the ceiling. In Perestroika these “celestial visitations” are multiplied, revealing what bitter and disorientated creatures these latter-day angels really are, anything but salvific; on the contrary, they seem almost to expect something of Prior and see him as a Prophet. Meanwhile Louis, Prior’s ex, has become the lover of Mormon attorney Joe Pitt, who, in turn, has left his young wife. The latter, in the throes of depression, creates an imaginary identity for herself amidst the frozen wastes of the Antarctic, with the help of Mr Lies. Hannah, her mother-in-law, moves to New York to try to get the young couple back on the “straight and narrow path” of matrimony, according to Mormon faith.
In the closing scenes of Millennium Approaches, the symptoms of AIDS were also beginning to undermine the health of Roy Cohn, the memorable figure of a perverse and corrupt attorney, guilty of having condemned the Rosenbergs to death during the period of McCarthyism. Although “New York’s leading attorney” continues to deny having contracted the disease, the past does not forgive and, with a kind of retaliation, inflicts on him the humiliation of having to depend on the care of Belize, “the black night-shift nurse, my negative”. As death approaches his nights become populated with nightmares and ghosts: and it is the apparition of his most famous victim, Ethel Rosenberg, who is to accompany him to his end.