Theater review: 'Angels' masterful in its artistic diversity

The latest UCSD Theatre and Dance Department production, “”Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches,”” is a three-hour rollercoaster ride of emotions ranging from joy to sorrow, from hope to despair.

Courtesy of UCSD Theatre and Dance Department

This is a powerful play that focuses on the lives of gay men in the mid-1980s, and has won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Both the characters and the issues touched on are diverse. “”Angels In America”” looks at the lives of a variety of men ranging from highly successful lawyer Roy Cohn, to flamboyant drag queen Prior Walter, to Mormon businessman Joseph Porter Pitt. This play also focuses on a number of issues facing the gay community, from religion, to politics, to public acceptance, to defining themselves.

However, the most dramatic issue of the play is AIDS and the ravishing effect it has on both those who have the disease and those around them. This production doesn’t hold much back and does a wonderful job of showing the devastating physical, mental and emotional effects that are involved with AIDS.

The actors do a wonderful job with such serious subject matter and handle the intensity of the production well. They also do a great job of providing as much comic relief as possible so that the viewer doesn’t get overwhelmed with all of the seriousness of the play.

The set is versatile and well-suited to the play, which has many different scenes and spaces that need to be represented. The use of multimedia, such as television sets and a variety of music, add to the feel of the play.

The only downside to the play is that it ends without really drawing the story to a close. There is a sense of frustration left over after watching these characters bare their souls for three hours and then not knowing what happens to them.

This is a masterful production with lots of depth and feeling, and should not be missed. This show is for mature audiences only because it contains serious subject matter and nudity.

“”Angels In America”” is playing Feb. 13 through Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Mandell Weiss Theatre. Tickets are $12 with $10 tickets available for UCSD affiliates, seniors and students.