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angels in america

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director ivo van hove
from tony kushner
duration 5:00, incl. 1 pauze
premiere 08 Mar 2008


Angels in America premiered in 2008 in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. The original script was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a movie starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep. Ivo van Hove made it into a five-hour theatre marathon.

Van Hove’s 2008 bare-staged Angels in America ‘was the most literal version of anti-space I’ve seen in the conventional theatre,’ says the author Tony Kushner. ‘It threw the entire event on the actors and their performances. There was no attempt to create stage illusion of any sort. The only departure from the play was that the Angel was played by a male actor. You learn immensely new things from whatever is formalistically unfamiliar in his productions.’

Hans Kesting received the Louis d’Or, prize for best male actor, for his role as Roy Cohn.


Angels in America takes place in New York during the eighties, the Reagan years. It is a mosaic of stories about people struggling with love, sexuality and the disastrous consequences of AIDS. Louis deserts his friend Prior, who is terminally ill. The marriage of Joe and Harper Pitt falls apart. The right-wing lawyer Roy Cohn discovers that neither power nor money will protect him from death.

Angels in America is in two parts: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. In the first part, three separate storylines are introduced, which gradually become interwoven. In the second part, the play moves more into an unreal world of hallucinations. Angels in America is about transformation, release, being reborn and the long road that leads there.


'Yet this is in many ways the most penetrating “Angels” that I’ve seen. In cutting to the core of this big-canvas portrait of life and imminent death in the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York, Mr. van Hove finds a universal heart that seems destined to beat, loudly and steadily, for as long as there is theater.' - NY Times

'The Toneelgroep Amsterdam ensemble demonstrates the benefit of the European repertory theatre model – this group has been performing these characters since 2008 and have a deep intimacy with the parts rarely found on this side of the Atlantic. This allows van Hove to simply stage Kushner’s plays like open wounds. There is something quite audacious about bringing a foreign production of Angels in America to Brooklyn, where so much of it is set, even if this version has Kushner’s blessing. But van Hove’s production is a sign his popularity isn’t due simply to audacity, but also to his skilled practice of a brand of stagecraft popular since Shakespeare: actors on an empty stage, performing with your imagination as a scene partner.' - The Globe and Mail

‘Toneelgroep Amsterdam presents five hours of heartbreaking theatre that will astound you long after.’ wrote Het Parool after the premiere in 2008.

Kushner in the NRC writing about Toneelgroep Amsterdam: ‘It was aweinspiring, it completely blew me away. … America is full of actors desperate to feel something on stage. The playwright’s words merely provide them with the sounds to match these emotions. I need actors who devote excessive attention to the detail of the script. And I get that here … I love Hans Kestings’ recklessness, his ruthless passion, and his quick tempo. His physical acting is better than any Cohn I’ve ever seen.’

‘Highlight of the season.’ - NRC Handelsblad

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Please give your input here.  

joop 2013-02-17 22:43
dank jullie wel. zoooo mooi.

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