Angels in America

by Tony Kushner
directed by Arnaud Desplechin


16 March 14 May 2023


Angels in America

2023-03-16 20:30:00 2023-05-14 23:30:00

“Tony Kushner. Jew, homosexual and Marxist.” This was how the author of Angels in America introduced himself to Pierre Laville, his French translator.

Earning a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 1993, subsequently adapted for television and opera, Angels in America stages American society of the Reagan years, mixing intimate stories and political events, realism and the fantastical while following the dark narrative thread of the AIDS epidemic. This was the disease that, in 1986, ended the life of Roy Cohn, an unscrupulous lawyer who was a disciple of McCarthy, a homophobe, racist, “bully, coward and victim” as described on the Washington Memorial Quilt. Kushner makes him one of the twenty-three characters – played by eight actors – of his Gay Fantasia on National Themes divided into two parts: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. The setting is New York between 1985 and 1990. The Republicans are in power, the Chernobyl catastrophe is imminent, the collapse of the Berlin Wall is about to turn cold war politics on their head and HIV, still synonymous with certain death, is reduced to the definition of homosexual cancer.

In 2020, Arnaud Desplechin’s staging of the American playwright’s work marked its entry into the Repertoire and underlined the contemporary nature of Angels: “A hundred echoes of yesterday’s struggles resonate in the here and now. From Trump, for whom Roy Cohn was an early mentor, to Fukushima, the passing of time does not make things distant but provides us with lessons.” The play’s hybrid writing borrows from cinema, television, American comedy and classical theatre: “it was this ‘theatrical impurity’ that I fell in love with”, explains the director. “I’m enthralled with Kushner’s mix of genres: it’s Shakespeare meets Brecht with Broadway thrown in!”

19 January 2020
Salle Richelieu

JAN 2023


Creative team

French text: Pierre Laville
Stage version and direction: Arnaud Desplechin
Scenography: Rudy Sabounghi
Costumes: Caroline de Vivaise
Lights: Bertrand Couderc
Sound Sébastien Trouvé
Artistic c****ollaboration : Stéphanie Cléau
Stage assistant: Stéphanie Leclercq
scenography and video assistant: Julien Soulier
Costumes assistant : Magdaléna Calloc’h


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