By: Jessica Sanders
If any of the following interests you, I know where you should be in the end of April: adult themes, foul language, and angels. Illinois College TheatreWorks has been working very hard the last few months on Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, directed by Nancy Taylor Porter. This “gay fantasia” stars Gabe Knott, Squire Prince, Brandon “Cosmo” Coniglio, and Courtney Dietz, but also features many other actors as well, such as the Rambler’s very own Maria Wittenauer and Willem Kline, with Hannah Hawkins working backstage.
Winner of many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony, Angels in America, follows two couples who are struggling with their sexuality, social life, and their religious beliefs. One couple is straight, the other gay. You will see the power of addiction, the fight against attraction towards the same sex, and the ability to stay with a loved one through a fight with a terrible disease. The setting of the play is during the AIDS epidemic in New York City. This play is heavy and may not be for everyone. If you are easily disturbed by illness, sex, or foul language, please consider whether this play is for you. There is also racism, sexism, and homophobia. These intense themes make it quite the eye opening experience for viewers. Though I have not yet seen the play in its entirety, I have heard and seen nothing but GOOD things about it. I already applaud the cast a crew for the amazing job they have done with Angels in America.
If you have been impressed by the stage sets that IC TheatreWorks has put together before, you will really be absolutely fascinated by this set. The audience is placed in different scenes, sometimes even at the same time, all on one stage. Set pieces are brought on and off so fast, making transitions barely noticeable, you are so busy processing what you had just seen. I am trying my best to describe the set I see before me, but it is honestly something that you just have to come see yourself
During their first full dress rehearsal, I had the opportunity to chat with a few cast members in between costume changes. Mason Durdel, a first year at IC, recommends the IC community to come and see Angels in America due to the diversity here on campus. He went on to say that the show is very diverse itself and is overall just a great show. Durdel also shared a bit about what it is like to play Roy Cohn, who is a very highly charismatic character to play and has a high energy about him. This is Durdel’s first big role at IC and will be very memorable for him.
I also talked with Gabe Knott, playing Prior Walter, who thinks the campus will enjoy the drama behind the play, along with the fact that it speaks about issues that we are stilling facing in America today. Though this has been a considerably heavier play than anything Knott has been apart of before, he has enjoyed being a part of Angels, saying “It is a fun show to put on, but has a serious subtext.
The audience feels so many emotions while watching the play. The actors do a superb job of sharing the emotion, the heartbreak, and so much more during this play. It feels natural to me. These are all real life things that very well did and could still happen (to an extent). I highly recommend coming to see one of the best shows I have seen in awhile.
Make sure to come and see this fascinating play. The show goes on April 22, 27-29 at 7:30 PM and April 30 at 2PM in Sibert Theatre. I don’t know about you, but you’ll see me there on opening night. Break a leg on April 22 to all the cast and crew of IC’s latest production, Angels in America.
Jessica Sanders, from Woodstock, Illinois, is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in Secondary Education. Jessica is a member of the IC Women’s Chorale and is the Editor in Chief of The Rambler, along with being a member of the literary society Chi Beta.