More Life - Angels in America

In December 2015, Angels in America made its return on the Malaysian stage under the tutelage of visionary director, Christopher Ling. The two-part epic, originally by renowned playwright Tony Kushner, was staged in two parts, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. Each part was approximately three hours long.

For those who are not familiar with the play, Millennium Approaches examines the culture of the Reagan years and the crisis of the arrival of AIDS, Perestroika tackles more directly the question of religious belief, how it is conceived and realized. On one level, the play is an agonizing analysis of the ludicrousness of religion with its fixed ideas and reverence of death; while at the same time acting as an affirmation of life in all its chaos, imperfection, bitterness and joy.

Returning to the stage this year were Alexis Wong, Belinda Hon, Dominic Lucien Luk, Nicole-Ann Thomas, Qahar Aqilah and Sandra Sodhy; alongside them were new cast members Ivan Chan, Lim Kien Lee and Michael Chen.

Naturally, Qahar Aqilah and Belinda Hon both returned with finely tuned characters, each embodying their roles with more conviction than the year before. Nevertheless, special mention should be accorded to Dominic Lucien Luk (Prior Walter), who rose to the occasion and at the occasion as well (all puns intended), to keep the audience alert throughout Part II: Perestroika, with timely, well-executed punch lines and accurately comical facial expressions to boot.

Belinda Hon & Dominic Lucien Luk reprised their roles as Harper Pitt and Prior Walter

Newbies Michael Chen and Ivan Chan also breathed new life into their roles. Chen played Joe Pitt, a macho yet sensitive Mormon who struggles with a corrupt world, a deteriorating relationship and rejection; Chan played Belize, the subtly flamboyant and furiously dignified health care worker who ministers to both the prophetic Prior Walter and the dying Roy Cohn.

Michael Chen breathed new life into the portrayal of Joe Pitt

To say that the feat was an ambitious venture would be an understatement at best. Most local theatre companies and directors spend their whole careers dreaming of pulling off such a feat and here we have theatrethreesixty accomplishing it for the second year running.

Even though played in two parts and regardless whether you watched in on the same day or separately, the experience of the scale of the production was in itself rewarding for both cast and audience.

Still, as mentioned in our earlier article, the true beauty of the play is helmed by Kushner’s impeccable writing, which handsomely personifies the true nature of the human spirit – unwavering, seldom broken, always searching and yearning despite adversities, for more life.

In all honesty, after a treat like this, what we really need is more theatrethreesixty.