Thursday, July 16, 2009

"call it any damn thing you want, roy...."

TONY KUSHNER b. JULY 16th 1956

american theater hasn't been on it's game in a while. however, there have been some stunning moments. the great august wilson & his cycle of ten plays about the black experience in america in the 20th century(a play for every decade). then, there's tony kushner's angels in america: a gay fantasia on american themes. this was an astonishing work of stage theater & it got a pretty good treatment in its hbo adaptation. for anyone who remembers the first village voice stories about kaposi sarcoma & the denials & fears & confusion that followed & the reagan administration's refusal to act(worse even than bush & katrina)& then all the death, the play was relentless & heartrending & true in what it spoke about america & its failures & triumphs, its power & its weaknesses.

in the play, roy cohn is the essence of the those antinomies. pacino nails his dangerous refusal of identity & the convoluted strategy of a closeted gay man who has everything to lose by acknowledging that identity. cohn received the azt treatment for aids while insisting he had liver cancer. he wasn't the last person to use his money & power to supercede others in specialized medical treatments while lying to & deceiving anyone & everyone. call it anything you want but it is, finally, death. money & power can not change that at all.

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