Thursday, September 30, 2010

ANGELS IN AMERICA Thoughts -- Actor Christian Borle

We continue our series of posts featuring people's thoughts on the power and impact of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Click here and continue checking back for more words from Broadway cast members, our current cast and creative team, Signature’s past Playwrights-in-Residence, and others in the theatre community. We also want to hear from YOU -- click here to find out how you can contribute.

Photo by Joan Marcus

"When asked to share my thoughts on Angels in America, one of the most iconic, acclaimed and… dare I say it… heralded pieces of writing of the last 50 years, I found courage in the words of Tony Kushner himself. Though, I think, not in the way you’d expect.

In one of an ongoing parade of 'pinch me' moments, I was given Tony’s email address after hearing the news that I had been cast as Prior. I wanted to say thanks, how excited I was. He replied, and in his sign-off he wrote… Tony Kushner wrote… 'back atcha.'

'Atcha.'

Something clicked for me when I read that. He’s a human being. Who wrote a play (or two). It’s easy to imagine that the series of words he strung together over a decade ago came to him in some sort of fever dream, channeled or bestowed. How momentous, how inspiring to discover that it’s so much more… accessible than that.

We get to have Tony in the room sometimes. He ARRIVES with new pages (Pinch Me Moments #34-52), hot off the inkjet. These are mostly tweaks to Part Two, him refining, still finding, clarifying. We sit at a table and watch him watch us as we speak this new assemblage of words, stutters, italics, dashes and ellipses. When it’s his turn to speak… to illuminate… he’s profound, intellectually intimidating, learned, funny, basically everything you’d hope for. But still, he’s just a person.

We’re five weeks into rehearsal now, and the room is full of people, just trying to figure it all out. It’s acting, writing, directing, designing, scheduling, maneuvering, lunching, caffeinating, crunching lines, going home at the end of the day. Human stuff.

What seemed, before the whole thing started, insurmountable and daunting is now what the most pretentious among us (read: me) call “the work.” And I hope that you all, uni-genitalled, male, female, or somewhere in between… you who come to see the play that will be barreling atcha… Well, I hope you like it. I hope you don’t notice the work that went into it. I hope you see something timeless in this story of humanity, by humans, for humans.

Because we are not going away."

–Christian Borle


Christian Borle plays Prior Walter in the Signature Theatre Company production of Angels in America

1 comment:

Thisby said...

I was lucky enough to be cast as Hannah Pitt in a production of Millenium Approaches and Perestroika in Roseville, CA this past June/July. Our director was able to speak to Tony and was very excited. To be part of this show was profoundly life changing for me as I had never really dealt with a lot of the feelings from that time. Working with such a young cast, I was forced to remember these feelings and to go back to that time and let them know what it was like to be there. As an actor, you dream about parts and shows like this. I don't think I'll ever do anything as life changing again. I only wish I could have seen this production.