Updated ‘Angels’ script gets first staged reading in Provincetown
Martin Bedogne rehearses his role as Joe Pitt with director Michael Walczak (seated) for this weekend’s staged reading of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America Part II: Perestroika.”
By Maria Nazos
GateHouse News Service
Posted Nov 14, 2012 @ 07:00 AM
Last update Nov 14, 2012 @ 02:21 PM
A slender woman with closely cropped blond hair struggles with an imaginary tree. She lugs the invisible, but nonetheless heavy pine across the floor by its trunk. She has an intent look on her face, as if she is determined enough to bend steel.
Meanwhile, a second woman sitting in a chair looks on, concerned. The air is rife with tension. The blonde woman is smuggling a tree from an arboretum. And there is nothing that anyone can do to stop her.
This is only one of the arresting scenes in “Angels in America: Part II: Perestroika,” which the Actors Theater Group, a lively and diverse new ensemble of mostly local thespians, is performing this weekend at Provincetown’s Unitarian Universalist Meeting House.
The reading’s director, Michael Walczak, heads the group, which includes Anne Stott, Melissa Nussbaum Freeman, Mark Adams, Griff Griffith, Tony Johnson, Mark Weinress, Sewall Whittemore and Martin Bedogne.
“Angels in America Part II: Perestroika” is the sequel to the “Angels in America Part I: Millennium Approaches,” which the group performed at The Provincetown Theater last spring. Both full-length plays were written by Tony Kushner, who has worked and vacationed in Provincetown for the past 20 years and who was honored this past summer by the Fine Arts Work Center at FAWC’s annual benefit gala.
“Tony volunteered the rewrite,” Walczak says. “He said he had always thought the original needed work. The rewrite is tighter. It clears up confusion over heaven and angels. The poetry of his work comes through loud and clear. He said he would hope someday to stage a full production [of this rewrite].”
The plays, which opened on Broadway in 1993, earned Kushner both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. Several years later, the HBO epic miniseries aired in 2003, directed by Mike Nichols and featuring Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and several other major celebrities, earning its author an Emmy.
According to Walczak, Kushner updated the script for this reading after he met the playwright at the summer FAWC party. This revised version has not yet been performed, thus making Provincetown’s Unitarian Universalist Meeting House its first dramatic home.
Set in New York City during the late 1980s, the plot follows the entwined lives of an assortment of people affected by the AIDS crisis. The lead character, a young man named Prior Walter, contracts AIDS after being abandoned by his partner. Shortly thereafter, Walter falls in love with the character of Joe Pitt, a closeted gay Mormon. Meanwhile an angel appears to Walter who informs him that both he and others afflicted by the AIDS virus are actually prophets.
Read more: Updated ‘Angels’ script gets first staged reading in Provincetown – – Wicked Local Provincetown http://www.wickedlocal.com/provincetown/photo/x970306970/Updated-Angels-script-gets-first-staged-reading-in-Provincetown#ixzz2DTh0OzVL