Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 1, Scene 5

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Act 1, Scene 5

  • Roy Cohn is in his hospital bed, looking really sick.
  • Belize enters with an IV drip.
  • Roy tells him to go away, saying that he wants a white nurse instead.
  • Then he yells at Belize to do a good job finding the vein. Belize threatens to make the whole IV process really painful for Roy if he doesn't behave himself.
  • Complaining, Roy says he's in a lot of pain. Belize offers to get him a painkiller, but Roy refuses, saying that life is full of pain.
  • Roy starts talking about how Jews and blacks have had a long history of banding together. He even admires black people because they never went communist like the Jews did.
  • The dying lawyer tries to get Belize to stay and talk to him. Belize says he'd "rather suck the pus out of an abscess" (1.1.5).
  • Roy says he doesn't want to be alone.
  • He begins talking about a case of pubic lice he had once – a case that was really hard to get rid of. Roy tells Belize that he began to identify with the little buggers because they were so tough.
  • Roy asks Belize if he's seen a lot of men with AIDS. Belize says he has.
  • Roy asks Belize if he thinks he'll die soon. Yep, looks that way, says Belize.
  • Roy claims that he's not racist, and that racists are simple-minded.
  • Begrudgingly, Belize gives Roy some medical advice, telling the bitter old man not to take the radiation treatments the doctor has scheduled. The radiation will kill the few T cells Roy has left.
  • Roy asks why he should trust Belize over Roy's WASP doctor. Belize says Roy should trust him because he's gay.
  • Belize also notices that Roy is signed up to do the drug trials for AZT (at the time the play was set, AZT was an experimental AIDS treatment). He warns Roy that, as part of the tests, some people get placebos instead of the real drug.
  • Roy spews a bunch racial slurs at Belize and asks why Belize would want to help him. "Consider it solidarity. One faggot to another," says Belize (1.5.50).
  • Belize snaps his finger and exits.
  • Roy cries out that he needs a better phone, one with a hold button.
  • He picks up the phone he does have and calls Martin. Roy threatens to expose secrets about Oliver North if Martin doesn't get Roy a big pile of AZT – the real stuff.

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