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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 3, Scene 1 Summary

January 1986

  • It's late at night three days after the end Act 2.
  • Prior is having a nightmare. He wakes up and turns on a light.
  • There's a dude sitting in his bedroom, "dressed in the clothing of a 13th century British squire" (3.1.1).
  • Prior asks the guy who he is, and the man introduces himself as Prior Walter.
  • Prior is all like, nuh uh, I'm Prior Walter.
  • It turns out that this is one of Prior's ancestors who had the same name. The script calls him Prior I, so we'll do the same.
  • Our Prior notes that his mother told him that he's the 34th Prior Walter.
  • Prior I informs Prior that he's actually the 32nd – Prior's mom is counting two bastards.
  • Prior I notes that Prior is sick – he thinks Prior is dying of the plague like he did. He says that Prior will die alone because he has no wives or children.
  • Prior tries to explain that he doesn't have a wife and kids because he's gay.
  • Prior I doesn't get it. "So? Be gay, dance in your altogether for all I care, what's that got to do with not having children?" (3.1.25).
  • Prior's ancestor says that he had twelve kids before he died.
  • Another ghost appears.
  • This guy is dressed like an elegant 17th-century Londoner. (We'll call this one Prior II.)
  • Prior screams when he sees the new ghost.
  • Turns out this is another one of Prior's ancestors, also with the same name.
  • "Are we having a convention?" Prior jokes.
  • Nah, the ghosts tell him, they've come to prepare the way for the messenger who's coming.
  • Prior II says he and Prior I were chosen as heralds because they died of a plague like Prior. Turns out Prior II died from a plague of "Black Jack," that came from a bad water pump – half of London died along with him.
  • Prior asks if he's going to die.
  • Prior I says that ancestors don't come and talk to you before you die. Even if you have a lot of children around you, you die alone.
  • The road of death is dark and scary, says Prior I.
  • Prior II tells the other ghost to stop being such a downer. "There's good news before there's bad" (3.2.45).
  • The ghosts talk again about how they've come to prepare the way for the great messenger who's on the way – it's an honor for the Walters.
  • Prior starts freaking out and sings a song from My Fair Lady.
  • Prior II tells him to chill out.
  • Crazy lights shine and glorious music begins to play.
  • The ghosts start chanting about the fabulous messenger who is on the way. Then they disappear.

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