Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Day--and Night--at the Theater

On Sunday Anne and I did a marathon.  Not the running kind--don't be silly.  We went to see both parts of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America."  The epic about AIDS in the age of Reagan first ran here in Seattle 20 years ago, so this was an anniversary production.

Oh, the differences between 1994 and 2014.  For a start, back then we audience members wouldn't have been checking our cell phones at every intermission.

In the play's New York City of the mid-'80s, homosexuality is still a sin.  Now in New York gays can legally marry--each other!  Kushner's closeted Mormon, Joe Pitt, tries with every fiber of his being not to be gay.  Now there are Mormons marching in Pride parades.  Back then an AIDS diagnosis is a death sentence.  Now, at least if you're American, it isn't.

I don't want to overstate the changes.  AIDS is still with us, rampaging parts of the world.  But the pace of LGBT political and social progress has really been breathtaking.  Then "Angels in America."  Now, in significant measure, we've seen the better angels of America's nature.