Guest blogger Greg Brown is managing director of AFI Dallas International Film Festival.
It’s Tony Kushner time in North Texas. He spoke with new Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty as a part of a wonderful recent DMA Arts and Letters Live event. And the Fort Worth Opera presented composer Peter Eötvös and librettist Mari Mezei’s adaptation of Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning play as a part of this year’s compressed season. I had the chance to go in conjunction with the ongoing Q Cinema Film Festival. (More on that in a moment…)
I’ve revisited the script in the weeks since the Arts and Letters Live event, and find myself conjuring the images in my mind form the Dallas Theater Center production of Angels in America I saw back in 1995 and 1996: the stage-spanning Soviet flag, the hilarious scene with the diorama in the Mormon Visitors Center and, of course, the angel crashing through Prior Walter’s ceiling.
Fort Worth Opera’s presentation had fairly minimal production elements, but despite that, I was not disappointed. The flag was there, and the absence of the diorama scene was more than made up for with the dramatic appearance–and angelic coloratura voice—of Ava Pine. The cast was solid through and through, and took on multiple roles, as in the original. The music is not your “traditional” opera score, with electronic sounds, a trio of offstage singers and dissonances. In its only second North American production, it was a wonderful way to experience this true masterpiece of the stage. Kudos to Fort Worth Opera for giving us the opportunity. (And you still have time to see other productions in what has been a critically-acclaimed series of productions. I’m trying to find the time to get out Sunday to see Anthony Dean Griffey in Of Mice and Men.)
As I said, I was in Fort Worth to support the tenth anniversary of Q Cinema. Todd Camp and his team have outdone themselves this year with a series of films, special events and arts partnerships. An event honoring Leslie Jordan last weekend was well-attended and lots of fun.
Make sure and join them for the rest of the Festival. Full details on their Web site but Saturday would be a great day to hit the highlights—a repeat of their Opening Night Film Were the World Mine, the U.S premiere of Mulligans (with director and UNT grad Chip Hale and star Charlie David in attendance), and then the Q Awards and 10th Birthday Party.