Tony Kushner's Angels in America utilizes the split screen method, in which two or more sets of characters in different locations appear on stage simultaneously, sometimes speaking with overlapping dialogue. With reference to specific examples, discuss the effect of splitting the stage. How does the split screen function to draw a relationship between characters and themes?
Kushner's Angels in America is definitely an epic play, with different story lines overlapping and interweaving themes. Splitting the stage allows the audience to make connections that might not necessarily be as apparent in the moment. One important connection that occurs in the first play involves Parker and Harper sharing a dream space. These characters are able to speak to each other and to help each other name the problem that confronts each one. As Harper and Joe deal with their infidelity and failed marriage, Parker and Lewis do the same. Sharing the general performance space offers an emphasis on how hard love is, especially when the partners are not able to face difficult truths.
Just as the grand novels of the nineteenth century seek to show a common suffering humanity by weaving elaborate webs (Tolstoy and Eliot come to mind), Kushner does the same thing with his set. That the performances are occurring in sometimes jarring sequence, and sometimes simultaneously, allows Kushner...
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