Author: Kushner

So Awfully, Irreducibly Real

Tony Kushner is taken to task from time to time for his harsh treatment of Joe Pitts, the closeted, Republican, Mormon lawyer whose self-hatred motivates so much of the plays’ drama (and poisons his marriage to Harper). Those critics must ignore this passage, which is among the most beautiful and heartbreaking Kushner has written. It’s been at the very back of my mind for nearly a week now but came front and center earlier this evening.

Kushner on Miller

“Although he refused the mechanical determinism of the unthinking Marxist left, he created in his greatest play a drama in which it is impossible to avoid thinking about economics–money–in any attempt to render coherent the human tragedy unfolding before you.”

Huh?

Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner will rewrite Steven Spielberg’s untitled drama about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where members of the Israeli team were held hostage and slain by Palestinian extremists.

My Dissertation (in the News)

“A World in Which Everything Hurts,” a profile of Arthur Miller in The Forward, gets bonus points for mentioning, in a single paragraph, three of the authors I’m writing about in my dissertation.

Amen, Brother!

“It’s not as if all preachers, including for instance John Donne, were merely dispensers of predigested, soundbite rhetoric and cliche; good preachers are gifted articulators of the thorniest, juiciest, most dangerous, most contradictory problems, dilemmas, controversies.” — Tony Kushner

Shit Happens

I don’t get upset about things over which I have no control. I just don’t. It’s not in me.

And One More Thing

For your reading pleasure: some snippets from Tony Kushner’s commentary on the Klezmatic’s recent CD, Possessed. Parts of the commentary, I noticed, have made their way into his and Alisa Solomon’s introduction to their new collection of essays, Wrestling with Zion.

But Is It Funny?

Dale Peck at Slate offers the best critical reading of HBO’s Angels that I’ve found. He points out something that has bothered me a bit as well: the film just isn’t very funny. Which is a shame, because the play is really funny.

Quartet

My wife surprised me yesterday afternoon with the Angels in America soundtrack. “Quartet” accompanies the scene that holds the rare honor of having made me cry two nights in a row. What can I say? Art is my refuge from a life of hardened cynicism. I can only imagine what condition I’ll be in on Sunday night when Louis delivers the Kaddish.

Minor Quibbles

I’m thrilled so far with Angels. Mary-Louise Parker is stealing the show as Harper, and Justin Kirk is fantastic as Prior. The homage to Cocteau and the casting of the prior Priors were both brilliant. But why, in their trimming and reshaping, did Kushner and Nichols have to cut my two favorite lines from Millennium Approaches?

For Shits and Giggles

I expect conservatives to be offended by many of the lines spoken by Kushner’s characters; I expect conservative critics to acknowledge the distinction between the message of a particular character and the message of the work as a whole. But that is expecting too much of anyone who writes for a partisan magazine (whether the NRO or The Nation) in a climate like ours.

More Angels

Richard Goldstein offers the best one-paragraph synapsis of Angels in America that you’ll ever read. (He also talks to Kushner about Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, the problems of liberalism, and his new musical, Caroline, or Change.)

Radical Pragmatism

In this new interview, Mother Jones calls Tony Kushner a “Radical Pragmatist,” a moniker I wouldn’t mind carrying myself.

The Great Work Begins

If Sullivan reads Angels in America as a Stalinist tract, then I pity his ideological blindness. He’s missing a hell of a play.

Going Digital

HBO’s economic freedom is just one of the many topics of discussion over at Newsweek, where Mike Nichols, Tony Kushner, and their cast are talking up Angels in America.

Film and Stage

Closer will be directed by Mike Nichols, who apparently is going to finish out his career by filming great plays. Two months and counting until I fire up my one-month subscription to HBO in order to watch Nichols’s rendition of Angels in America.

What Am I Doing Here?

I was thrilled to find on Dr. Reidy’s site a link to Tony Kushner’s May 26, 2002 commencement address at Vassar, which I’d never read before.

Give ‘Em Hell, Bill

“Sleep the sleep of the just” is my favorite line from Moyers’s speech. That strange metaphor — the idea that sleeping soundly somehow demonstrates moral rightness — has shown up in a few odd places lately, most notably in the frequent reports that President Bush is sleeping well despite (or, perhaps, because of) the war. Well thank God for small blessings, eh?

Snippets

Two quotes from Tony Kushner.

Kushner on Bush

Tony Kushner on President Bush and military intervention in Iraq.

Homebody/Kabul

Instead of beginning my dissertation prospectus, which really should be occupying a larger chunk of my life right now, I’ve discovered all sorts of distractions that can be justified away as “research.”

Angels in Phoenix

I’ll eventually get around to writing (much) more about this, but I want to mention quickly that, while vacationing in Phoenix, Joanna and I had the chance to see Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at the Herberger Theater.

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1992)

Note: These are my initial thoughts on Millennium Approaches, written as a journal assignment in the fall of 1998. I’m tempted to revise it or pull it down altogether, but I’ve decided to keep it up here as an artifact of sorts.