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Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika


by Tony Kushner

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 3, Scene 4 Summary

  • Joe and Louis sit on the sand at Jones Beach. Joe is freezing, but Louis feels great.
  • Louis talks about all the intrepid gay men who braved the beach in all kinds of weather just to have a place get it on. "Hardy pioneers. Like your ancestors," Louis says to Joe (3.4.4).
  • "Not exactly" Joe tells him (3.4.5).
  • Louis still can't get over the fact that Joe is a Mormon. He asks Joe about the "fruity underwear" Joe wears (3.4.12).
  • Joe tells him it's a "temple garment," that it's a "second skin" (3.4.13-14). He tells Louis that he'll take it off if Louis wants him to.
  • Louis doesn't think it's a very good idea for him to take off his skin. How can Joe throw away his past beliefs, Louis wonders.
  • Joe says he keeps thinking God is going to punish him, but that he's really happy.
  • Louis says he feels really guilty about deserting Prior.
  • Joe kisses him deeply.
  • "You believe the world is perfectible and so you find it always unsatisfying," Joe tells Louis (3.4.20). Joe advises his lover that he should accept that the world is imperfect.
  • They start talking politics.
  • The more Republican-sounding Joe gets, the more turned on Louis becomes.
  • Joe tells Louis that ultimately the two of them want the same things.
  • Louis doesn't think that's true.
  • Joe thinks Louis did the right thing by walking out on Prior. According to Joe, it was what Louis needed to do, and sometimes the best thing a person can do is to be a little selfish.
  • Louis feels totally ashamed about it.
  • Joe tells Louis he loves him.
  • Louis says haven't known each other long enough for that and adds that he wants to see Prior again.
  • Hurt, Joe asks if Louis is breaking up with him.
  • Louis isn't sure, but he definitely needs to see Prior.
  • "Anything. Whatever you want. I can give up anything. My skin," cries Joe (3.4.57). He starts flinging off his clothes, including his temple garment underwear.
  • Embarrassed, Louis freaks out and starts putting Joe's clothes back on.
  • Joe urges Louis to see that sometimes it's okay to look out for yourself, to take what you want in life.
  • Louis stands apart from Joe.
  • Joe yells, "Think about what you need. Be brave. [...] AND THEN YOU'LL COME BACK TO ME!" (3.4.66-68).

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