Angels in America
- Dramaturgy: Dino Pešut
- Set design: Urša Vidic
- Costume design: Marina Sremac
- Music: Branko Rožman
- Assistant director: Jaka Smerkolj Simoneti
- Set designer assistant: Maruša Mali
- Outside eye: Tibor Hrs Pandur
- Language consultant (Slovene): Mateja Dermelj
- Lighting design: Mojca Sarjaš
- Sound design: Sven Horvat, Branko Rožman, Marijan Sajovic
- Make-up artist: Nathalie Horvat
- Stage manager: Liam Hlede
- Stage managers (rehearsals): Demijan Pinterič, Jera Topolovec
After its world première, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes became a theatre event—the canon of the late twentieth-century and an authentic artistic manifesto of the era accumulating the excess of history. The expansive two-part drama in eight acts explores a series of paradoxes—life surrounded by death, hope eroded by despair, rage at the heart of tenderness. In his work, Kushner captures the late twentieth century, specifically the winter between 1985 and 1986—the time of monsters, when the old world was disintegrating and crumbling, and the new world was yet to be established; a time when the old gods are falling and new ones are not yet born; when youth is dying, and old ideas are anchoring like weeds waiting to be uprooted.
Angels in America is a drama with a sharp and wide diagonal. A drama uniting the living and the dead, paradise and hell, left and right, communism and capitalism, angels and humans, saints and demons, disco and funerals. This is a time of disaster and of necessity. Tectonic plates are moving, death is drawing concentric circles, and the apocalypse is waiting anxiously. The narrative follows the terrified children of a cruel era—both healthy and sick, whose lives, engulfed by the AIDS epidemic, boil down to a few friendly ties and coincidences. Somewhere in New York City, an unimaginable lovers’ quadrangle is closing up; at a time when only death is aplenty, all of them are demanding more life and more love on top of it all. And every single one of them, though exposed and vulnerable, and despite the risk and ban, will continue to run around, grab and crave—to gorge on life.
Although the show does not expect any special interaction from the audience or cooperation from them beyond changing locations, it presents us with an experience that is all the more memorable: involvement. The wittiness, the existential dread we all face and yet often conceal, the relationship struggles, the identity crises, are all obstacles that everyone faces. Instead of just showing us the seemingly (to us) extreme conditions these characters are in, instead of putting them on a moral pedestal or attempting to make them somehow more than human, the production ensures they remain exactly that: human. Nina Rajić Kranjac’s performance goes beyond the stereotyping that usually characterises depictions of unusual mental states, queer characters, or any other kind of societal deviation. It goes deeper than that. It must be said that the Mladinsko ensemble is beyond reproach – as is usual, they are the strongest element of the performance. Each one of them radiates a presence that make the characters not only believable, but also alive. And although some directorial choices, like the decision to stage so much of the play outside, might make us question the sanity of the creators, and the length of the show could arguably be reduced, it is still an extremely powerful performance, one full of life.
Thanks: Demijan Pinterič, Jera Topolovec, Studia humanitatis Publishing House