Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 1, Scene 1

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Act 1, Scene 1

January 1986

  • From the darkness we hear a voice, telling us that we're in the Hall of Deputies at the Kremlin, in Moscow.
  • Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov, the World's Oldest Living Bolshevik, is about to speak. The ancient blind man stands at a podium in front of a giant red flag.
  • Aleksii addresses the crowd and asks big questions: "Are we doomed? [...] Will the Past release us? [...] Can we Change?" (1.1.2).
  • The Bolshevik criticizes the crowd for changing too fast and implies that they are unworthy.
  • At the end of his speech he gets all metaphorical and says, "If the snake sheds his skin before a new skin is ready, naked he will be in the world, prey to the forces of chaos" (1.1.2).
  • There's a big ripping, crashing sound, and the red flag flies out.
  • Suddenly we see the tableau from the ending of the first part of Angels in America. This scene is a mash-up of the Bolshevik and Prior/the angel.
  • The angel hovers amidst the wreckage of Prior Walter's ceiling. She is barefoot and wears a beautiful white gown.
  • Aleksii cries out, "Then we dare not, we cannot, we MUST NOT move ahead!" (1.1.4).
  • The angel repeats her last line from Part One: "Greetings, Prophet. The Great Work Begins. The Messenger has arrived" (1.1.5).
  • Prior tells her to "Go away" (1.1.6).

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