Cameri Theatre: Angels in America Preview

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The Cameri Theatre opened the rehearsal room doors today for a preview look at Angels in America, which will open on January 26, 2023. Tony Kushner’s complex and moving play, which premiered in 1991, focuses on several main characters during the AIDS epidemic in America in the 1980s. Merging intelligent treatment of acute current issues with symbolism and fantasy, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993, as well as several Tony Awards, including Best Play; a successful revival in 2017 garnered a second harvest of awards, including a Tony Award and Olivier Award for Best Revival. Although it is set in the mid-1980s, and its depiction of homosexuality and AIDS is informed by the circumstances and attitudes of those times, its themes reach beyond the specific time and place to reflect essential human desires and fears, as well as issues of discrimination, politics, religion, and morality.

Angels in America – scene from rehearsal at the Cameri Theatre/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

Directed by Gilad Kimchi, one of the distinctive features of the Cameri production will be a musical score composed by Amir Lekner, that will be performed live by the Revolution Orchestra, conducted by Roy Oppenheim. Select scenes from the play were performed this morning, with the orchestra, and the effect of the music is much like a film’s soundtrack, enhancing the emotional landscape of the play. The translation to Hebrew is by Eli Bijaoui, and it flows beautifully, conveying the cadences of everyday speech as if the script had been written here and now. The lives of the main characters intersect in different ways throughout the play. The central figures are: Louis who learns that his lover Prior has AIDS, and, unable to cope, abandons him; Prior, who experiences visions; Joe, a Republican Mormon deep in the closet, and friend of Roy Cohn; Harper, Joe’s wife whose addiction to Valium brings on visions; Roy Cohn, a closeted lawyer based on the historic figure of Roy Cohn who assisted Senator McCarthy’s witch-hunt of Communists and prosecuted the Rosenbergs, leading to their execution; Hannah, Joe’s mother and devout Mormon. Watching cast members Maya Landsmann, Nadav Nates, Shoham Sheiner, Yoav Levi, Avigail Harari and Elad Atrakchi (featured in the scenes shown today) as they brought the characters to vivid life was moving and exciting. I look forward to seeing the play in its entirety.

Introducing the play, Director Kimchi said that he was drawn to the play due to its “phenomenal writing from a brilliant playwright,” noting its “deep characters and touching relationships with which we can all identify… I think that ultimately the play is concerned with compassion. Louis is always searching for the compassion within himself, compassion for his lover Prior, who has AIDS. He tries to understand why he can’t be there for him and throughout the play he the other characters are all looking for compassion. Maybe that is the most relevant aspect of the play, perhaps we all need compassion and look for it everywhere.”

Angels in America will open at the Cameri Theatre on January 26, 2023. Tickets may be ordered online from the Cameri Theatre website: https://www.cameri.co.il/eng/

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