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What relevance did the play “Angels in America” have in American culture?

What relevance did the play “Angels in America” have in American culture? photo

The Angels in America play have had a long-lasting impact on American culture. The epic drama focused on the accounts of two troubled couples, one gay and the other straight. Tony Kushner raised concerns about several issues that affected the American public. Arguably, the United States has made significant progress on the topics addressed in the play. At the time in which the play was produced in 1993, the mainstream society showed less acceptance on the issue of LGBT rights. The American culture, at that time, did not embrace same-sex marriages. Besides, the play also talked about the HIV/AIDS epidemic that terrorized the population (Als). American society during the Reagan era was conservative, thus put little or no effort to end the discrimination associated with being gay. The paper provides a critical analysis of the relevance played by the Angels in America play in American culture. 

The controversial film, nevertheless, won several awards because of its popularity. People who understood these issues welcomed the play asserting the bravery of the producer to address the real problems in society. The average theatergoer acknowledged that the play was challenging American citizens to advocate for an equal and just society. In 1993, few people preferred not to speak about the rights of the LGBT people (Mcnamara). Without a doubt, the social themes addressed by the play transformed American society. For instance, it provided a platform for people to fight for their rights and demand for non-discriminatory policies as enshrined in the community.

In recent times, society have massively transformed compared to when Mr. Kushner produced the play. In 2015, for instance, the US Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriages as it claimed that people had a right to marry a person of their choice despite their gender. Since 1993, celebrities, political leaders, and even citizens have increased their role in advocating for equal rights in American society. Most of them have taken a strong stance and continued to protest against discrimination. Even though the US is yet to attain full equality, much progress has been made (Mcnamara).

Knowing this, it can be argued that Angels in America play influenced the cultural shift in American society. Throughout history, the theatre has impacted the way of life in the American population in various ways. Since the premiere of this play, the American culture started to accept the guarantee of equal rights within the population. Theatre arts have attained significant progress in transforming the American culture. For example, plays in theaters have inspired people to demand civil rights and social justice from the government and its apparatus without exception. Together with other shows addressing LGBT rights and the AIDs epidemic, it is believed that Angels in America play prepared people to start demanding their civil rights. The theatre community celebrated the beloved art form because, on most occasions, plays influenced historic cultural changes.

The play poses provocative and poignant questions towards the audience. It made people think about the future of queer people. Because of its themes in history and futility, Angels in America initiated conversations about the LGBT community in general. It evident that these themes have been intertwined in the American public discourse. The US Supreme Court repealed the Marriage Act, and most states continue to welcome marriage equality. Since the play premiered in the theatre in 1993, the Congress since then has continued to discuss and improve the Employment Non-Discrimination legislation (Mcnamara). Civil rights activists argued that LGBT members should be accorded with equal rights and freedom as enshrined in the constitution because they are not lesser beings.  During the period in which Angels in America premiered, most people found it uncomfortable to talk about the rights of gays and lesbians, and this led to increased cases of discrimination.

The opposition between status and change is among the prevalent themes depicted by Kushner in the play. He reveals how the world was full of despair and desperation and called for the need for change. The play illustrates that human beings have the behavior of preserving the past and ignoring or suppressing the future by terming the situation a natural reaction. The progressive values integrated within the play inspires the US citizens to advocate for democracy and stay in the frontline to influence the direction of national politics. From the play, people are challenged to start accepting even the changes that frighten them, particularly the emergence of a politically active and culturally accepted gay and lesbian minority (Als).

As expounded, the Angels in America play educated the American public about various issues. The audience learned how LGBT people are discriminated against and saw the need to demand a just society from the government. The play has a historical significance in the United States because of its ability to enlighten the masses. As a result, the play achieved its purpose to influence a change of behavior in the society, and at the same time, propagate social and political change. 

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