Event Title

Angels in America: Revising the Divine

Location

Edwards 101

Document Type

Oral/PowerPoint Presentation (10 minutes and 5 minute Q and A)

Description

Angels in America is a text that is widely discussed in terms of its portrayal of the queer community during the height of the AIDS crisis. However, as Anthony Lioi notes, although Angels is labeled many things, critics and commentators omit any religious tags: “Despite its title, Angels in America has not been widely acknowledged as religious drama without ironic quotation marks” (96). To acknowledge Kushner’s drama as “religious drama” would demand a necessary examination of his treatment of faith and sexual identity, a conversation that most queer theorists systematically sidestep. Rather than ignore the issues that Kushner addresses, I propose a thoughtful analysis of them. How does the text speak to issues of faith and sexuality? Why does Kushner infiltrate the narrative with biblical allusions and conversations about Judaism and Mormonism? By introducing Jewish and Mormon sentiments, as well as a plethora of biblical allusions, I argue that Kushner revises notions of faith to demonstrate the complexities of renegotiating faith and sexual identity. In Kushner’s text, there is no clear argument to be made for or against such ideas; rather, he purposely problematizes these ideas to highlight the struggles of maintaining or even creating a queer faith. Kushner illustrates the abstruse connection between the material and supernatural world through a wide range of biblical allusions, as well as through the Angel, a pervasive image and motivating factor in the text. In the light of what has already been discussed as well as criticism’s notable absences, I will expand the conversation and address the link between faith and sexual identity in Angels in America.

Keywords: queer theory, Tony Kushner, Angels in America, faith, sexual identity

Work Cited

Lioi, Anthony. "The Great Work Begins: Theater as Theurgy in Angels in America." Cross Currents Fall 2004: 96+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Start Date

April 2014

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Apr 26th, 10:30 AM

Angels in America: Revising the Divine

Edwards 101

Angels in America is a text that is widely discussed in terms of its portrayal of the queer community during the height of the AIDS crisis. However, as Anthony Lioi notes, although Angels is labeled many things, critics and commentators omit any religious tags: “Despite its title, Angels in America has not been widely acknowledged as religious drama without ironic quotation marks” (96). To acknowledge Kushner’s drama as “religious drama” would demand a necessary examination of his treatment of faith and sexual identity, a conversation that most queer theorists systematically sidestep. Rather than ignore the issues that Kushner addresses, I propose a thoughtful analysis of them. How does the text speak to issues of faith and sexuality? Why does Kushner infiltrate the narrative with biblical allusions and conversations about Judaism and Mormonism? By introducing Jewish and Mormon sentiments, as well as a plethora of biblical allusions, I argue that Kushner revises notions of faith to demonstrate the complexities of renegotiating faith and sexual identity. In Kushner’s text, there is no clear argument to be made for or against such ideas; rather, he purposely problematizes these ideas to highlight the struggles of maintaining or even creating a queer faith. Kushner illustrates the abstruse connection between the material and supernatural world through a wide range of biblical allusions, as well as through the Angel, a pervasive image and motivating factor in the text. In the light of what has already been discussed as well as criticism’s notable absences, I will expand the conversation and address the link between faith and sexual identity in Angels in America.

Keywords: queer theory, Tony Kushner, Angels in America, faith, sexual identity

Work Cited

Lioi, Anthony. "The Great Work Begins: Theater as Theurgy in Angels in America." Cross Currents Fall 2004: 96+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.