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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 Versions of Reality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #1

Mr. Lies: The Eskimo is back.
Harper: I know. I wanted a real Eskimo, [...] this is just... some lawyer, just...
Joe: Hey buddy.
Harper: Hey. (1.2.10-13)

As if the layers of reality weren't already complicated enough in the first part of Angels in America, Kushner starts adding new layers to think about in the second. In this scene we're once again taken to Harper's imaginary Antarctica. Near the end of the last play, the actor playing Joe appeared as an Eskimo. Now he shows up as Joe himself. What's interesting is that Joe isn't actually physically there. This is either Harper's imagined version of him, or another one of Kushner's reality-bending moments where a character can be consciously present in another character's dream world. You're making our heads hurt, Tony!

Quote #2

Stage Directions: The magic Antarctica night fades away, replaced by a harsh sodium light and the ordinary sounds of the park and the city in the distance. (1.2.27)

Harper's hallucinatory interaction with Joe overloads her imaginary Antarctica, and reality creeps in. Even though the little scene with Joe doesn't exist in normal reality, it still manages to shatter Harper's world of illusion. The pain of Joe's abandonment is just too much to imagine away.

Quote #3

Stage Directions: The lights of a police car begin to flash.
Mr. Lies: The Law for real.
Harper: Busted. Damn. What a lousy vacation. (1.2.36-38)

When the cops show up, Harper's imaginary Antarctic vacation is officially over. Turns out she was just wandering around Prospect Park in the snow for a few days. Time to face reality, Harper.

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