Angels in America Timeline: Part Two
The script for Angels in America draws heavily from crucial junctures in World history. To help guide you through some of the references made in Angels in America, we have constructed a timeline - this week's installment is the second half, 1980 C.E - 1990 C.E.
1980 - A mysterious constellation of diseases in forty-one different patients in discovered. The patients are all gay men living in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta publishes a report on the outbreaks of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and pneumocystic carinii pneumonia (PCP). The epidemic is later referred to as Gay Cancer or GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency).
Jan 1981 - Ronald Wilson Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States. The GOP gains control of the Senate.
March 1981 - Ronald Reagan is shot 60 days into his first term. Although seriously wounded, he becomes the first U.S. President to be shot and survive. He leaves the hospital 21 days later.
July 1981 - PCP is discovered among intravenous drug users in New York City; most of the patients are heterosexual.
Jan-Feb 1982 - In several cases across the United States, infected Factor III blood is identified as the cause of PCP cases in hemophiliacs.
Angels in America Timeline: Part One
The script for Angels in America draws heavily from crucial junctures in World history. To help guide you through some of the references made in Angels in America, we have constructed a timeline - this week's installment is the first half, 300 B.C.E - 1969 C.E.
300 B.C.E. - The development of the Hebrew alphabet. Beginning with the appearance of a pictograph of an ox head, the aleph glyph becomes the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the initial letter of God’s name at the time of Creation. The aleph is one of the three words alluding to His Ineffable Name.
68 or 95 C.E. - John of Patmos writes The Book of Revelation (named after its first word, apokalypsis), creating the most common Christian image of the end of the world.
525 C.E. - The Anno Domini dating system is invented by the Scythian monk Dionysius Exiguous (Dennis the Small). To make cosmic history coincide with the Roman Diocletian calendar, he assigns Jesus’ birth as December 25, so the assumed date of his circumcision fell on January 1, 1 AD.
1348 - The Black Plague enters Europe. By the end of 1350, one-third of the population of Europe is dead. Prophecies of the End of the World abound.
In the Beginning: Leading up to November, 1985
Since Angels in America is set in the later months of 1985, we wanted to provide you with some real-life events which lead up to the beginning of the play.
March 11, 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev takes power in the Soviet Union following the death of Konstantin Chernenko. Gorbachev begins his policies on Glasnost [“new openness”] and Perestroika [“rebuilding”]. AIDS is reported on every populated continent of the earth. U.S. cases surpass 9,000, with 4,300 deaths.
July 12, 1985: Rock Hudson (Pictured) collapses in a Paris hospital while undergoing experimental treatment for AIDS. The news of his diagnosis creates the first real mobilization against the disease. The Reagan Administration responds by increasing AIDS funding to $100 million.
September, 1985: Four years after the outbreak of the epidemic, Ronald Reagan publicly utters the word “AIDS” for the first time, although he would not make a statement on the issue itself until 1987. More than 12,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., with nearly 6,000 deaths.