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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches


by Tony Kushner

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Act 1, Scene 3 Summary

  • It's later that day.
  • Harper, Joe's wife, is hanging out alone, listening to the radio and talking to herself. This is pretty much what she does all the time.
  • She goes off on a long poetic, kind of trippy monologue about the beauty of the ozone layer, comparing it to "guardian angels" with their "hands linked" (1.3.2).
  • Harper declares that she would like to travel.
  • Conveniently, a travel agent named Mr. Lies appears – in Harper's imagination at least.
  • She says he's the guy who sold her and Joe the plane tickets that took them from Salt Lake City to Brooklyn.
  • Mr. Lies asks Harper where she'd like to go.
  • Antarctica seems to be her first choice – she'd love to check out the hole in the ozone layer.
  • Harper tells him she definitely needs to travel soon – her husband, Joe, leaves her alone all the time, and weird things keep happening, like the appearance of mystical travel agents.
  • "It's the price of rootlessness. Motion sickness," says Mr. Lies. "The only cure: to keep moving" (2.3.14).
  • Harper isn't so sure and launches into another monologue to tell us about it.
  • "It's 1985. Fifteen years until the third millennium," she says (2.3.15). She hopes something will change, that something great will happen like Jesus coming back. Or maybe, she supposes, everything will be destroyed in some kind of great catastrophe.
  • Harper then wonders whether she's just freaking out all the time over nothing.
  • Maybe Joe really does love her.
  • Then again, it could be worse than she thinks.
  • Harper concludes by saying, "The suspense, Mr. Lies, it's killing me" ( 1.3.15).
  • Mr. Lies tells the frantic lady that she definitely needs a vacation.
  • Harper hears the elevator and tells the imaginary travel agent to disappear – it'd be really embarrassing to be caught hanging out with somebody who isn't even real.
  • Mr. Lies vanishes.
  • Joe walks in and apologizes for being late. Cryptically, he tells his wife, "I was just out... walking" (1.3.20). (Hmm.)
  • She admits that she got a wee bit anxious.
  • He tells her there's no need for anxiety and then gives her a "buddy kiss" (1.3.22).
  • The scene ends with Joe asking Harper if she wants to move to Washington, DC.

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