5: Article excerpts, Tony Kushner’s “The Secret of Angels,” 1994.
In this 1994 New York Times article, drawn from conversations Tony Kushner had with writer William Harris, Kushner answers some key questions about Angels in America. These three excerpts focus on why Kushner chose to include the Yiddish folk song “Tumbalalaika,” why he made several of his main characters Mormon, and how we should understand the appearances of Prior Walter's two ancestors.
Suggested Activity: Have students break into small groups. Each group should read and discuss one of the three article excerpts. Ask students to consider how Kushner’s explanations and reflections do or don't help them understand the play. In each specific excerpt, what is Kushner expressing about his intentions? Do students understand the play differently, after learning about these intentions? Bring the whole class back together and have groups report to each other about the excerpt they read and discussed.
Source: Tony Kushner in conversation with William Harris, “The Secret of Angels” (The New York Times, March 27, 1994), The New York Times Archives, accessed January 24, 2019.
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