Angels Return for Closure
One of the most honored American plays in history, Angels in America is an award-winning two-part epic comedy tells the story of a group of separate, but inextricably connected individuals whose relationships are disintegrating as the AIDS crisis progresses through the nation. With the help of fantasy, theatrical magic together with a blend of comedy and realism, the play explores the themes of love, death, identity and ethics; weaved together to form a portrait of American life in the 1980s and the end of a millennium.
Last year, theatrethreesixty received rave reviews for their staging of Angels in America: Part One – Millennium Approaches, thanks to its eminent cast, who brought out the magic of Kushner’s writing under the direction of award-winning local theatre stalwart, Christopher Ling. Heck, the company should be commended for simply having the guts to dream about staging a three-hour play.
Always looking for greater challenges, theatrethreesixty is back again with Kushner tucked safely under their arms and are going the whole nine yards and then some with the return of Angels in America: Part I – Millennium Approaches as well as Part II – Perestroika, for a definitive six-hour Kushner experience.
Returning to the stage this year are Alexis Wong, Belinda Hon, Dominic Lucien Luk, Nicole-Ann Thomas, Qahar Aqilah and Sandra Sodhy. Joining them are new cast members Ivan Chan, Lim Kien Lee and Michael Chen. They have been in rehearsals since September. “Among the few new cast members, I think the most interesting will be Michael Chen, who plays the role of Joe Pitt, a troubled and depressed Mormon struggling with self-acceptance. Last year, Tan Meng Kheng gave a more meek, passive interpretation of the role, whereas Michael gives off a more dark and macho vibe, which inadvertently changes the dynamics in his scenes with his wife, Harper (Belinda Hon),” shared Ling, describing Chen as a Malboro man.
Returning guests may recall several standout characters who stole the show, namely Roy Cohn (Qahar Aqilah) and the earlier mentioned Harper Pitt (Belinda Hon). Both brought their characters alive with truthful and raw interpretations of a powerful conservative lawyer who is unrepentantly vicious and a seemingly deranged, pill-popper respectively. In spite of his talented cherry-picked line-up, Ling also believes that in the same way that the familiar look and feel of last year’s Millennium Approaches spills over into this year’s Perestroika, it is the effervescent humour and wit of Tony Kushner’s writing that will once again be the star.
Alexis Wong and Dominic Luk return in this year's production
If you’re wondering if you can pull a George Lucas and watch Part II before you’ve seen Part I, the answer is no. “Part II is far more convoluted than Part I and it’s only those who are truly invested in the characters and their stories in Part I who will be able to appreciate sitting through another three-hour performance in Part II,” shared Ling.
He emphasized that the entire production of Angels in America is truly for serious theatre goers, “Most importantly, Part II actually serves our need for closure. That’s a theme that has cropped up frequently when we discuss the play.”
Ling says Angels in America is for serious theatre-goers.
Whether you’re going in fresh or returning for some closure, Angels in America will be the best way to end your theatrical year, if not for its cast, then for the pure beauty of Kushner’s writing.
Angels in America is being staged in Damansara Performing Arts Centre (DPAC) until this weekend.
Tickets are priced at RM65 (Part 1 OR Part 2) and RM120 (Part 1 AND Part 2). Concessions are available for Students and Senior Citizens (RM55/RM110). To purchase tickets, call 03-4065 0001 or visit www.dpac.com.my
This article was published on December 5, 2015 in the Malay Mail.