Friends’ Central Kids Tackle Angels in America, Millennium Approaches


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While many high school drama programs stick to “safe” material like Our Town and Brigadoon, Philadelphia Quaker school Friends’ Central has decided to stage Angels In America, Millennium Approaches, playwright Tony Kushner’s work about the dawn of AIDS in the United States. The play earned Kushner a Pulitzer in 1993.

“They weren’t even born when this play was written,” says director Terry Guerin of her cast of 20. “They are doing an amazing job with this difficult material.”

This appears to be the first time that a high school has produced Millennium. According to Guerin, a high school in Massachusetts once staged portions of Perestroika, the other part of Angels. Kushner wrote the play in two parts, and they are generally presented separately.

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Guerin points out that Friends’ decided to change the sex scene in the show.

“There’s a scene that has a character engaging in very destructive behavior,” she explains. “It’s described in the original script that the actual sex acts are performed on stage, and it’s generally very literally interpreted. Instead, we’re suggesting that he’s going off to have sex with this man, but we’re not actually doing the scene. But all of the affection scenes — the kissing, the language of affection — they are kept intact.”

Guerin says that while the material may be controversial, she hasn’t heard one complaint.

The free production of Angels is at the school from October 23rd to 25th.