Here's a brief bio for Tony Kushner. Most of this information came from the Wikipedia page about him:
Kushner’s family immigrated from Russia and Poland, part of a wave of Jewish families who fled persecution there. His father and mother were both musicians. He grew up in a small town in Louisiana. In a 2006 interview in The Guardian newspaper, Kushner explained that his experiences there made him want “to explore the civil rights movement, race relations, African-Americans and southern Jews from the perspective of my small home town.” In 1978 he earned an undergraduate degree at Columbia University, in New York City. The degree was in Medieval Studies. Subsequently, Kushner also received a masters degree from Tisch School of the Arts, in New York.
Kushner has received several honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate from Brandeis University, an honorary Doctor of Letters from SUNY Purchase College, an honorary doctorate from CUNY's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Ithaca College.
As the headline with the photo of Mr. Kushner attests to, he was awarded the very prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America in 1993.
This chart, shown in class is by nurse and graphic novel artist, MK Czerwiec. It is one page in her newly published book, Taking Turns, Stores from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371. For our purposes on this blog post, this chart represents the massive amount of scientific data that was gradually accumulated about HIV/AIDS, and its murderous impact on American citizens.
Sen. Joseph McCarthy covers the microphones with his hands while having a whispered discussion with Roy Cohn, his chief counsel, during a committee hearing on April 26, 1954, in Washington. | AP Photo
This photograph represents how powerful men in positions of authority, such as United States Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his attorney counselor Roy Cohn attacked and persecuted American citizens during the 1950's (the McCarthy 'witch hunt' period), and during the 1980's with the administration of President Ronald Reagan. As we saw in another photograph, Mr. Cohn represented Mr. Donald Trump during the 1970s, when Trump was accussed by the US Department of Justic with violating the Fair Housing Act.
Summing up what is represented on this post from the Monday class in 2452 Knauss Hall are three aspects of the story of HIV/AIDS, and the play Angels in America: 1) the artist Tony Kushner; 2) the scientific data that enlightens us about the nature of HIV/AIDS, and its impact on Americans over a long period of time; and 3) the ways that power and politics played out in the crisis, and how they are portrayed in Angels in America. Keep in mind that when we talk about religion, (so important to the narrative in Angels in America), we are also referring to how power is exercised in religious institutions. We should also keep in mind the spiritual aspects of religious practice and how that shapes real people, and the characters that Kushner invented for Angels.
To participate in this blog post, choose ONE of the three aspects named above. Then begin my reminding us as precisely as you can about any ONE thing presented or said (by anyone) in class on Monday enlightened or informed you about the impact of the aspect you choose. Tell us how it impacted you to the best of your ability.
When you post your comment, do as follows: First comes your first and last name. Then AM or PM. Then the word count, which will be a number that is at most 225. We look forward to reading your responses. One last thing: BE CERTAIN that you use a dictionary or run a spell check BEFORE you post your comment. AND: beware that spell check can cause problems. If you misspell the work “definitely,” it might correct it to, for example, “defiantly.” That would create a problem that is as bad as misspelling the word “definitely.” Good Luck. I know you can do an excellent job as long as you are patient and take your time.
Questions to consider about the class on Wednesday, in the Williams Theatre, with the design team for Angels in America:
In both the AM and PM sessions, class featured `the four designers who are responsible, under the direction of Joan Herrington, for creating the form, substance, texture, look, and sounds of the production of Angels in America. They are: Scenic Designer and faculty member, Dave Nofsinger, and the three student designers: Costume Design by Amanda Elliott, Lighting Design by Paige Robitaille, and Sound Design by Joseph M. Parisi. We also learned about the work of Stage Manager Hannah Cremin.
Pick any ONE of the design team, and talk about what most impressed and/or surprised you about their work. If you've now seen the production, you'll have an appreciation of not only what you learned from the designer in class, but from seeing their work come to life on stage. Be as specific as you can. Perhaps the most significant question you can ask yourself about any of the designers, is: How did the work of the ________ Designer, help tell the story of Angels in America? And, To what extent can you not even imagine the play without their contribution?
NOTE: This post opened at 3:30 pm on Tuesday. Questions were added about the Wednesday class with the designers in the Williams Theatre on Thursday night. This post will remain open until Sunday at 10 pm. You should see a post soon from Melissa Sparks as well, on the performances of Angels in America. Please follow same instructions in posting your comment for the Wednesday class, as for the Monday class (in terms of word limits, etc.)
Prof. Paul Solomon