The Kushner Walking Tour

While this Brooklyn building may not look like much, it in fact plays a very central role in Angels In America -- Borough Hall is the actual site where, in the play, Joe and Louis first meet and decide to begin their fateful affair (and even share a hot dog on the granite steps outside). Like most of the locations in Tony Kushner's play, those steps are a real, actual place in the universe. So last week, continuing our research for the projection design, Shannon and I spent a day wandering all over New York City photographing the sights and neighborhoods where the Angels characters lived and worked. Or where they would have, if they had existed.

From the beginning, we didn't plan to be slavish to reality; it is, after all, a gay fantasia, and literal documentary is the farthest thing from the play's intent. But after climbing the rocky crags of The Ramble in Central Park (where Louis searches for anonymous sex), strolling down East 87th Street (where Roy Cohn lives when Ethel Rosenberg's ghost crashes the party), and visiting Brooklyn (the home of Prior, Louis, Harper, and Joe), I have to admit that I am relating to the play in a different way. Sure, it's a fantasy of Kushner's invention...but the world of the play is very real, and its foundations lay squarely in our own lives. Joe and Louis never shared a hot dog on these steps, but the steps nevertheless are there. (Profound? Probably not, but it did affect me. I'm a sucker for contrivance.)

It also helped that we had an absolute ball doing this day-long project; amateur photographers that we are, you would have thought we were Diane Arbus. (I have to admit that the hills of Central Park kicked my ass, and by the end of our eight-hour jaunt, I was ready to sit and think about anything besides the play!)

1 Responses to “The Kushner Walking Tour”

  1. # Blogger Shannon

    I love the post. I couldn't agree more...thinking about how he found very specific places that exsist and used them as part of the play made me think about the play in a different way. It's not just on the page...I'm stading in the spot where he stood while creating the play. xo  

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