Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Theme of Versions of Reality
Angels in America definitely takes some flights of fancy. While many of the scenes are generally realistic, there are other times when that reality gets skewed. A lot of these moments come in the form of hallucinations. For example, Harper dreams up Mr. Lies, a travel agent, who whisks her away to a surreal version of Antarctica. And then there are the ghosts: both Prior and Roy receive visitations from the dead. The play leaves it ambiguous as to whether these are hallucinations or if the ghosts actually exist in the reality of the play. Then, of course, there's Prior's climactic angelic visitation, which is never defined as real or imagined. All in all, it seems Kushner takes great joy in blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. The play asks us to really look at our preconceptions of what is real and what is not.
Questions About Versions of Reality
- Does there seem to be one true reality all characters in the play are a part of? If so, describe this reality. If not, describe the different realities the characters experience.
- When Harper and Prior meet each other in their shared dream/hallucination, what is the event's significance? Does anything link the subconscious minds of these two characters, or is it a random event?
- There is lots of talk of angels and different religions going on here. Does religion change a person's view of reality? Explain your answer in relation to the play.
- A play is, really, a different version of reality. Are you able to connect the play and its supernatural happenings to your own reality? If so, how? If not, what do you think causes the disconnect?
Chew on This
Reality is deliberately played with in Angels in America to give audiences many new ways of seeing the world.