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The Angels are Coming, The Angels are Coming!

Thu 20 Mar 2014 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

The Angels are Coming, The Angels are Coming! (wings, lesions, hope and San Francisco) The year was 1985. VH1 went live, Playboy quit stapling centrefolds and Madonna exploded onto the scene. Live AID raised over $70 million for African famine relief, Amadeus won Best Picture and McGyver built a shopping mall with rubber bands and a paperclip. The Rainbow Warrior was bombed in the Waitemata Harbour. The year was 1985 and AIDS was real. This is the background for a disparate group of Manhattanites – good and bad - whose paths are crossed with HIV and wings. This is the story of one man’s illness and the lives that intertwine around him and his journey. It is a story first told on the NY stage 21 years ago, reprised for TV in an HBO mini-series and winning awards through all its iterations… Angels in America is coming to New Zealand! Debuting at Auckland’s Silo theatre, under the direction of Shane Bosher, Tony Kushner’s version of modern day angels with wings black AND white is here to make us laugh and cry. Think. Reminisce. Hope and protect. You need to go see this show. There is more than the fact that it is a fantastically told story with amazing characters. Some you will love with their camp and silent support. Others you will long to bean in the head with rotten fruit if they utter one more, whiny self-centred oh-I-don’t-have-your-moral-fortitude-so-pity-me monologues. Most characters you will recognize and applaud their journey. But there is more. While dealing with life and imminent death subject matter, you will find yourself laughing out loud. Belly laughing. The kind of laughing where you cover your mouth and look around to see if anyone noticed. Guilty laughter. After all, they are dying. But – who doesn’t think that Plasma Orgasmata and Angels with Eight Vaginas are funny? “I’m a Mormon.” “I’m a homosexual.” “Oh. My church doesn’t believe in homosexuals.” “My church doesn’t believe in Mormons.” But there is more. It is timely. In 1985 AIDS was real. People were dying. NZ had already faced its first death by HIV in 1983. Eve van Grafhorst was banned from her local pre-school in NSW in 1985. In a culture of more acceptance and less right wing antagonism, NZ still leads the way in awareness and prevention. But what was once a topic of real conversation up through the nineties has gone past the cocktail party gasps and chatter into a two hour health seminar for students. However – the disease hasn’t. Brilliant story-telling, famed direction and beautiful cast are not why you should arrange for everyone you know to see this play. The Ministry of Health recognises 180 new cases of HIV annually in Aotearoa. Since 1985, 3474 people have tested positive for HIV. 678 have developed AIDS and died. Bring awareness back into our daily lives. You can start with reviews at cocktail parties and water coolers. Love or hate it, Angels in America is here. So is AIDS. Let’s get talking about it again. (My money is on you loving the play…it really is tear jerking, campy and uplifting – all at once.) Go see  Silo's Angels in America at the Q Theatre, Queen Street in Auckland. The play will be shown consecutively in two parts. Part 1 – Millenium Approaches Showing March 21 through April 13 Part 2 – Perestroika Showing March 28 through April 13 For more detail or bookings visit silotheatre.co.nz or call 093099771 “An angel is a belief with wings and arms that can carry you. It’s not to be afraid of, and if it can’t hold you up; seek for something new.” Hannah Pitt, Angels in America   Nykki Porteous - 20th March 2014    

Credit: Nykki Porteous

First published: Thursday, 20th March 2014 - 9:43am

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