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Award Winning Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks at UNC Greensboro

Tony Award Winning Dramatist Sounds Off on Politics and Theatre

By Christina Edwards

December 4, 2008

Photo credit Roy Zipstein

Photo credit Roy Zipstein

At the end of his prolific Reagan era social commentary play Angels in America, playwright Tony Kushner writes “there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead.”

Appropriately, progress and looking back were key topics of An Evening With Tony Kushner, held at the Taylor Theatre at UNC Greensboro December 3.

Kushner, an Emmy award winner and a two-time Tony winner who has been praised for his politically fused dramas, spoke to a full crowd about the future of American politics and the social consciousness of theatre.

“I’m okay with being called a political dramatist, but I’m not sure I am,” Kushner said. “The family scenes, that’s what I like to write. I deal with human relationships and psychology.”

Kushner opened the evening with a reading of Prayer for New York, a piece he was commissioned to write for a 9/11 commeration, complete with character voices and wild hand gestures.

“I was conflicted about writing it,” Kushner said about being asked to write the piece. “But then again, I’m conflicted about most things.”

Conflicted, maybe, but opinionated? Certainly. Kushner talked for two hours about the challenges Obama will face in the next four years, Sarah Palin, and writing for film and stage.

He also spoke about Steven Spielberg’s upcoming movie Lincoln, which Kushner recently wrote the screenplay for.

Kushner ending the evening by signing books at the Brown Theatre, staying to hold a conversation with fans, who filed out the door waiting to meet him.

List of Kushner’s Works