Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 2, Scene 2

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Act 2, Scene 2

  • Time for a flashback.
  • We watch with Belize as Prior slips into his memory and relives his scene with the angel.
  • Prior puts on his pajamas and returns to his bedroom, complete with hovering angel and shattered ceiling.
  • The angel announces herself in a grand voice.
  • Prior keeps telling her to go away.
  • She asks him where the sacred implements are.
  • He has no idea what she's talking about.
  • The angel tells him to be quiet while she checks in with heaven. She gets the message that the sacred implement is under the floor in Prior's kitchen. The angel commands Prior to bash open the floor to get whatever the implement is.
  • "No f***ing way! The ceiling's bad enough, I'll lose the lease," Prior says (2.2.23).
  • The angel gets all mad, knocking Prior down with an enormous gust of wind.
  • Stubbornly, Prior still refuses.
  • The angel coughs, and there's a minor explosion in the kitchen.
  • Prior goes in and comes back with a leather suitcase.
  • The angel tells him to open it, and he does, pulling out a pair of spectacles with rocks in them instead of lenses. Prior puts them on, and whatever he sees through them is horrible.
  • At the angel's request, Prior takes a book out of the suitcase. It's thick, with bright steel pages.
  • There's lots of music, light, and wind.
  • Prior puts on the rock spectacles to read the book, but then complains that he has an enormous erection. "The stiffening of the penis is of no consequence" the angel declares (2.2.38).
  • The angel starts talking about "The Universe Aflame with Angelic Ejaculate."
  • They both get really turned on. Prior humps the sacred book until he ejaculates.
  • At this point Belize cuts in: "Whoa whoa whoa wait a minute excuse me please. You f***ed this angel?" (2.2.59).
  • "She f***ed me," Prior tells him, adding that she had eight vaginas.
  • The angel declares that she also has a "Bouquet of Phalli... " (2.2.60).
  • Prior explains to Belize that angels are all hermaphrodites who used to constantly have sex. Their orgasms create the substance of the Universe.
  • He explains that angels are all powerful, but they're just not that inventive. Prior adds that the angels are "sort of fabulous and dull all at once" (2.2.62).
  • He goes on to explain that when God made humans who are either male or female, He created the possibility of change in the universe. Apparently all the moving, migrating, and changing that humans do causes big quakes in heaven.
  • God was actually inspired by humans and decided to go on a voyage of his own. He deserted the universe and no one has seen him since.
  • Belize points out that this whole dream is probably just Prior trying to deal with the fact that Louis abandoned him.
  • Prior says that has occurred to him, but he still holds onto the idea that the vision was real.
  • He says that angels think things on earth need to be reversed.
  • "But that's not how the world works, Prior. It only spins forward," says Belize (2.2.92).
  • Back in the flashback, the angel demands that the human race stop moving, progressing, and changing. She wants Prior to be the prophet of this philosophy.
  • Prior refuses.
  • The angel lifts him up gently and they float in the air. She presses the book into his chest.
  • The bedroom fades, and Prior is back on the street with Belize.
  • Belize thinks Prior is just dreaming all this up because he's afraid of the future. He tells Prior be quiet and listen to how the world spins.
  • They listen, and sounds of New York City swell around them. "That's New York traffic, baby, the sound of energy, the sound of time. Even if you're hurting, it can't go back," says Belize (2.2.121).
  • Prior still thinks the episode with the angel really happened, but he hasn't been convinced to take up the mission the angel assigned him. "I hate heaven. I've got no resistance left. Except to run," Prior declares (2.2.125).

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