Jim Edmondson is the director of “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches,” by Tony Kushner, now playing at Southern Oregon University’s Main Stage Theatre. A magnificent hallucinatory fantasy, the play offers a deeply personal look at the victims of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, a time of sexual promiscuity and social oppression. I met with Edmondson in the theater during a technical rehearsal.
JE: The scope of the play is huge. I assigned the cast to study subjects such as: Civil Rights; the House Un-American Activities Committee; Roy Cohen; the history of drag, and leather bars in America; the early medical and political response to the epidemic; Rock Hudson; the plagues of the 13th and 17th century. The Angel brought in charts of the structure of heaven. It’s been interesting to research the clothes of the early ’80s, and how strange they were.
The play is interesting because it is so political, so religious, so compassionate and so despicable. The range of experience is great. It’s so enormous in its scope: that you’d have ghosts and fantasies, and historical figures. Kushner was very daring to put all that into the same world.Continue reading A deep look at 1980s epidemic