THEATER: Red Sunset

Tony Kushner treats the Soviet collapse as vaudeville

In what he has described as a coda to his seven-hour Pulitzer-prizewinning epic Angels in America, playwright Tony Kushner has written a little one-act vaudeville called Slavs!, fuzzily subtitled Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness. In 80 wordy minutes, Kushner scampers through seven years in the collapse of Russian communism (the second half of Angels, remember, was called Perestroika) and bounces from the Kremlin to a fantastic archive housing the bottled brains of dead party leaders to a Siberia-like heaven. His final line asks, as Lenin did, "What is to be done?" Audiences are more likely to wonder,...

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