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Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika

by Tony Kushner

Versions of Reality Theme

<em>Angels in America</em> definitely takes some flights of fancy. While many of the scenes are generally realistic, there are many times when that reality gets skewed. In <em>Perestroika</em>, we've got hallucinations, dreams, ghostly visitations, angelic visitations, and even an ascent into Heaven. The laws of space and time are constantly warped in Kushner's theatrical dreamscape. One of the most interesting things the play does is dramatize shared dreams and hallucinations. Several characters enter alternate realities together. Characters are also able to communicate with each other on a spiritual level even when they're not located in the same physical space. Could all of this be some kind of comment on the interconnectedness of human beings?

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. Almost every character enters an alternate reality at some point in the play. Describe each character's relationship with the world of dreams and hallucinations.
  2. What might be the larger meaning of the play's use of shared dreams? How might it pertain to the political perspectives in the play? (Hint: Kushner is a socialist.)
  3. Do you think the Heaven that Prior goes to is real or in his head? Does it even matter?
  4. What is the effect of having so many fantastical sequences in the play? Do all the dreams and hallucinations just make it weird and hard to understand, or do they help the play make its points in some way?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Angels in America uses its fantastic sequences to explore its themes and ideas metaphorically.

Through its constant blending of realities, Angels in America argues that all human beings are interconnected.

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