"an ode to the capacity of people to transform and survive. An expression of hope that a society can change course and evolve, like a tanker that – creaking under the strain, to be sure – heads up into the wind. But most of all, it is a plea for the strength and comfort that comes with love.” – Tom Dewispelaere and Stijn Van Opstal
America in the mid-80s. The Reagan era. Conservative, right wing and brash. Never before has politics been so hard and cold-hearted. AIDS is a new disease that in New York primarily strikes the gay community, unexpectedly fast and mercilessly hard.
This is where the story Angels in America by Tony Kushner starts. The play turned into a modern classic in no time at all. Together with a fantastic cast, Tom Dewispelaere and Stijn Van Opstal have reworked this more than seven-hour-long theatrical diptych into a single evening’s programme.
The kaleidoscopic story of Angels in America is a complex portrait of a combative generation that acts counter to spirit of the era. The havoc caused by AIDS strengthens the ultraconservative forces in their fight against free love; at the same time, the disease as a problem to be solved is ignored. In this merciless climate, we follow more than 20 characters played by eight actors, ranging from travel agents and lawyers to caregivers and ex-drag queens to divine interventions and religious minorities, with shocking scenes of power and hypocrisy, hilarious personalities, and intimate discussions about the fear of death and decline.
“Everything always changes.” — Abraham Lincoln “Nothing ever really changes.” — Anton Chekhov
With seventeen years under their belts and at least five more years lying ahead, the two Olympique Dramatique stalwarts undeniably are established names within Toneelhuis. Although Stijn Van Opstal’s beard is considerably greyer than in 2006, Van Opstal and his comrade Tom Dewispelaere are still what they have always been: actors through and through.
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