Study Guide

Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika Act 4, Scene 1

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Act 4, Scene 1

February 1986

  • Split scene.
  • Louis sits alone on a park bench.
  • Roy in his hospital bed, hooked up to his IV. Joe sits in a chair near him.
  • Roy talks about how he and the conservatives of his generation are the real deal; modern conservatives are a bunch of wusses.
  • Joe says he was afraid Roy wouldn't want to see him, since he let Roy down by not taking the job in Washington.
  • Roy asks if Joe has seen a lady walking around (referring to Ethel Rosenberg), but Joe doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • Roy asks Joe if Joe's father blessed him before he died.
  • Nope, says Joe.
  • Roy presses his hand against Joe's head and blesses him.
  • They talk about the biblical story where Jacob tricks his father, Isaac, into blessing him.
  • Roy tells Joe that his mother read him Bible stories.
  • He talks about how he was born with a bone spur on his nose, and his mother had him get it surgically removed, even though she was advised that he was too young. Roy says he's grateful to his mother for that because it made him tough. "I am tough. It's taking a lot... to dismantle me," Roy observes (4.1.20).
  • On the other side of the stage, Prior approaches Louis in the park, understandably angry. "Don't waste your energy beating up on me, OK? I'm already taking care of that," Louis says.
  • Prior observes that Louis doesn't have any bruises.
  • Louis tells him they're on the inside.
  • Prior is not impressed.
  • Louis wants to make up with Prior. "Maybe, what I did isn't forgivable" Louis says (4.1.34).
  • His ex-lover confirms this.
  • Louis accuses Prior of acting too much like a victim.
  • Prior asks if Louis wants to come back so he won't have to feel guilty anymore.
  • "I didn't say I wanted to come back," Louis tells him (4.1.39). He says if he did come back things would just end up the same way again.
  • Prior asks if Louis is seeing someone else.
  • Louis tries to deny it but fails miserably. He wonders how Prior knew.
  • If you think that's amazing, says Prior, I also know the guy is a Mormon.
  • Louis is dumfounded and asks how Prior knows all this.
  • "F*** you. I'm a prophet," Prior says (4.1.50).
  • As he starts to march away, Prior has some sort of respiratory attack. Louis tries to help him, but Prior waves him away.
  • Prior accuses Louis of not actually being able to feel anything.
  • Back in Roy's hospital room, Joe tells Roy that he left his wife. He goes on to say that he's been living with a man.
  • Roy totally flips out.
  • The dying lawyer stands, pulls the IV out of his arm, and starts to bleed everywhere.
  • Joe calls for help.
  • Belize rushes in, curses, and puts on rubber gloves.
  • Roy orders Joe to go back to his wife, grabbing Joe by the shirt and bleeding all over him.
  • Belize gets Roy back in bed.
  • Belize tells Joe to take off the shirt and throw it away, warning Joe not to touch the blood.
  • Joe doesn't understand why the blood is dangerous.
  • Both Roy and Belize yell at Joe to leave.
  • Belize starts bandaging Roy's arm.
  • Prior and Louis talk about how Louis' new lover (Joe) is a gay Mormon Republican lawyer. Prior can't believe it.
  • Louis says he just needed company.
  • Prior observes that there lots of gay guys dying of AIDS out there and that many of them are lucky enough to have someone to take care of them. He's can't believe he got stuck with someone as faithless as Louis.
  • Louis starts to cry.
  • Prior tells Louis not to come back until he has some real bruises, on the outside of his body.
  • Back in Roy's hospital room, Roy talks about how all he ever wanted out of life was to be a lawyer. He's determined to die before that's taken away from him.
  • Belize says he almost feels bad for Roy.
  • The ghost of Ethel Rosenberg appears.
  • "Nobody... with me now. But the dead," groans Roy (4.1.121).

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