Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
by Tony Kushner
Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Versions of Reality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Harper: What are you doing in my hallucination?
Prior: I'm not in your hallucination. You're in my dream. (1.7.5-6)
In a play full of fantastical sequences, this scene between Harper and Prior really takes the cake. Kushner even admits in his stage directions that the scene is "bewildering" (1.7.1). So what level of reality does this exist on? It seems like somehow we are in both Harper's hallucination and Prior's dream. Somehow these two characters, who have never even met, have stepped out of themselves and crossed paths in the world of imagination.
Harper: Imagination can't create anything new, can it? It only recycles bits and pieces for the world and reassembles them into visions. [...] Nothing unknown is knowable. (1.7.29-31)
Harper is trying to figure out how someone she's never met, Prior, could possibly be in her hallucination. What do you think of her theory here? Are we unable to think of anything that is totally new?
Harper: In the whole entire world, you are the only person, the only person I love or have ever loved. And I love you terribly. Terribly. That's what's so awfully, irreducibly real. I can make up anything but I can't dream that away. (2.2.12)
Harper is incredibly skilled at hiding from reality in her dream worlds. Here she admits that the one thing she can't hide from is her love for Joe. Unable to face the fact that Joe can't love her the same way she loves him, she escapes into a Valium-induced wonderland.