In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead.
Tony Kushner, from Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika
(Theatre Communication Group, 1993)
Photography: Cole Thompson
Harper: Night flight to San Francisco. Chase the moon across America. God! It’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air. As close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air and attained the outer rim, the ozone which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things. Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead of people who’d perished from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles and formed a web, a great net of souls. And the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them, and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.
A short clip of American countertenor Derek Lee Ragin in Peter Eötvös’ opera Angels In America (based on Tony Kushner’s play). The performance took place in Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris on 29.11.2004. and was conduced by the composer himself. The baritone is Daniel Belcher and he sings the role Prior Walter while Ragin has several characters in this opera (namely: Belize, Mr Lies, Woman in South Bronx and Angel Africani).
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner. The two parts of the play are separately presentable and entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, respectively. The play has been made into both a television miniseries and an opera byPeter Eötvös.