Thursday, September 13, 2012

I am disappointed in Tony Kushner

By way of Parabasis recently I discovered that originally there were no female characters in ANGELS IN AMERICA. According to Oskar Eustis, interviewed by Anne Bogart in her book "Conversations with Anne":
We sort of created a company around the development of ANGELS IN AMERICA that went on for six years. It had lots of firings, including my own, and that was part of it. But it, nonetheless, was a continuous process of work among a group of artists for six years, and that is absolutely at the heart of why it's a great play Tony had three women in ANGELS who would not have been in that play. I can't tell you how many times Tony would whine to me, "Why do I have to have these women in the show? This is a play about gay men. I don't know what to do with them. Abigail, this mother. Okay, we'll make her Joe Pitt's mother, but I don't know what the mother's going to do in the play." Well he had to have these three women in the play because we had these three women in the company. If those three female characters hadn't been written in the play, I don't think we could be sitting here talking about ANGELS IN AMERICA. It's absolutely part of what stretched that play to have the reach that it ended up having.
Boy is he right about that.  I can't imagine AIA without Mother Pitt, or Harper or the Angel. And I thought Tony Kushner was such a big feminist that he just naturally included women in his plays. Well there goes that illusion.

Speaking of theater books, I finally ordered my copy of Teresa Rebeck's Free Fire Zone: A Playwright's Adventures on the Creative Battlefields of Film, TV, and Theater. I've been jonesing for this book for months. I'm sure I will have plenty to say about it once I read it.