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‘There are truths that have to be told and they may upset people’: Tony Kushner on Spielberg, Ye and ‘the orange-covered mud devil’

The Angels in America writer talks about antisemitism, homophobia and working on The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s loosely autobiographical film about a teenager obsessed with cinema It’s lunchtime a couple of weeks before Christmas. Past the tree in the glitzy lobby of Claridge’s hotel in London ambles a man who, in his octagonal glasses, workman’s jacket, jeans and trainers, looks a little out of place. Once installed in his room, however, Tony Kushner is entirely in his element. Insights on art, history and politics pour out at the slightest prompting. He cites writers from Conor McPherson to Robert Lowell, gives a lightning-quick insight into Othello (too cruel a play, he says, for him to catch National Theatre’s new production on this trip) and, in the 50 minutes we talk, widens my vocabulary by three words (abreacting, recrudesce and armamentarium). It’s not hard to see why Steven Spielberg has chosen him to write (or co-write) the scripts for four of his films: Munich, Lincoln, West Side Story and his latest, The Fabelmans. As well as mind-expanding company, Kushner is perhaps the US’s most important living playwright. His two-part, eight-hour Angels in America became a theatrical landmark on its Broadway debut in 1993. A 2017 revival underscored its punch and prescience. Continue reading...

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