There are few plays staged in Malaysia that have the ability to get the audience on the edge of the seat, in anticipation of the next line and the subsequent scene. theatrethreesixty’s Angels in America is one of them.
For those who have seen Part One: Millennium Approaches at Damansara Perfoming Arts Centre last August, award winning playwright Tony Kushner’s deep, deliberate and witty lines continue in Part Two: Perestroika.
No doubt, the all American script that revolves around the touchy subject of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s, sexual identity and self discovery shines on its own right. Still, credit goes to the talented Malaysian cast who have skilfully brought to life, the realistic, raw tale of life’s twists and turns at the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s.
Directed by Christopher Ling, Angels in America gives the audience a reality check – no matter which millennium we subscribe to, love is real and so is suffering. Death is inevitable. Relationships crumble, and life is altered as we know it.
With projections on screen letting the audience know the details of the act, date and place of the scenes, the content of play deals with mature content that sinks in, and takes root in one’s mind.
Part One introduces the audience to the colourful protagonists. From the infamous lawyer with political clout Roy Cohn, his protégé, the Mormon clerk Joe Pitt, his hallucinating wife Harper and his conventional mother to the AIDS affected Prior Walter his partner Louis Ironson and friend Belize – there is three hours to choose one’s favourite character.
While the conclusion of the first part of the production that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama hangs in the air, it also adds a touch of mystery to the award winning script. In Part Two, the journey continues as relationships are further tested, resolutions are broken and the audience gets to see a rather fitting ending to the display of raw emotions and real dilemmas through the eyes of the characters.
Stand out characters in both Part 1 and Part 2 are the crude yet very human Roy Cohn (played to the t by Qahar Aqilah), the unconventional 80’s wife Harper (flawlessly presented by Belinda Hon) and the witty “diva” (performed brilliantly by Dominic Lucian Luk).
Last year’s returning actors Alexis Wong, Sandra Sodhy and Nicole-Ann Thomas are comfortable and convincing in their (multiple) roles. New cast member Ivan Chan entertained as Belize, while both Lim Kien Lee (Louis) and Michael Chen (Joe) presented their alter-egos effectively, in theatrethreesixty’s double bill.
There is a lot of passion in Chris’s minimalist version of Angels in America and it shows. The six hour play may be lengthy, but it’s a must-see for those who enjoy deep and thoughtful theatre, with a touch of humour.
Angels In America will continue to be staged at Damansara Performing Arts Theatre (DPAC) tomorrow until December 13. 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. To purchase tickets, call 03-4065 0001 or visit http://www.dpac.com.my