AWST Press

September 2016

By Sophfronia Scott

There’s a scene in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America when Prior Walter, his body ravaged by AIDS, experiences the vision or hallucination of an angel crashing through his ceiling and descending upon him. His whole being seizes up not in pain, but in a kind of ecstatic spasm. The stage direction in the script reads, “He is washed over by an intense sexual feeling.” He later tells a friend he has erections when he perceives the divine visions. When I first saw the scene I remember thinking, yes, that makes sense. That’s exactly how it should be. A person so close to the veil would feel the energy tethering him between the earth and his being, and between his being and the divine. And why wouldn’t that energy temporarily obliterate his pain and crack him open like a sorcerer’s stone through the most sublime release the human body can experience? The angel utters these words: “The body is the garden of the soul.”

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