But this part was also still really weird. Hermaphroditic angels swooped about, and there was a brightly colored heaven with old transistor radios that foretold the future. I think the ambition was prophetic, but the achievement felt more like a sort of manic cynicism. And the ultimate refrain, “I want more life”, struck me as obvious.
The play (both parts) also felt very historically and geographically specific to me. Like the musical Rent, the play expresses and reflects a very particular moment and mood in U.S. history. The angst and drama is so enmeshed with Reaganism, the end of the Cold War, and the AIDS crisis — all as seen through the eyes of New Yorkers — that it felt more like an artifact than a universal work of art.
So I’m going to put the play into the same category as the novel Les Miserables: a significant cultural work that I’m glad I’ve experienced, but which ultimately failed to move me in the way that other works of art have done.