The play follows the story of a cabaret singer called Deloris Van Cartier, who becomes part of a witness protection programme, after witnessing a murder at the hands of her boyfriend. Seeking sanctuary with a childhood friend who is now in the police force she is persuaded to lay low in a convent as a nun. However, Mother Superior, who has taken an instant dislike to her for her ‘liberal’ ways, reluctantly gives her a habit.
Initially, she feels like an outcast in the convent, but as time goes by, she adapts to her new lifestyle and joins in with the church choir. This is when it all goes right for the church, but all wrong for Deloris. She uses her talent to teach the church choir how to sing well, as they were terrible before. However, by modernising the church and jazzing up the hymns, she gathers so much attention that she ends up the headline on a newspaper, and her face is all over America, leading Curtis, her murderous boyfriend straight to her.
During the play, the director shows the audience the journey that Dolores undertakes, in order to show the audience that you need to work together in order to succeed. He shows them that when you work as a team, you can even avoid death, and that friendship is the key to happiness. This is reflected in the relationship between Eddie and Dolores, as they were old friends, he saved her life, and it was only through acceptance and building friendships that the sisters of the convent finally stood up for Dolores when she was threatened at gun point. In my opinion, the director succeeded in getting this message through to the audience.
Firstly, the reason that Mother Superior had to accept Deloris into the convent was because she had taken a vow of hospitality and this applied to all the other nuns. They also had to accept her as it is what God would have wanted, and they are taught to be kind and nurturing. Furthermore, nuns are taught to be welcoming and friendly, and if they didn’t welcome her, they would be betraying God. However, Mary Patrick automatically welcomed her, due to her friendly nature, and this led an example to the other nuns, also Deloris’s relationship with her allowed her build bigger friendship’s with the other nuns.
In the play, there were a large number of props used; however some of the most prominent props were the rosaries. This was due to the religious symbolism, and their frequent use showed the religious significance in the chapel. Furthermore, there were the bar props used in the bar scene, and as there was a wide variety of them, it helped to show the chaos that was associated within such a place. Most of the props were used to bring character to and to support to support the setting. However, one special prop was Eddie’s gun. This prop showed to the audience the difference between Eddie and Shank.
Eddie has the power to use the gun, but doesn’t until he was forced to, while Shank uses the gun without a second thought. In this instance, the prop helped to signify a character, and quite a lot of props were used in this way. The passing of the baton signified the responsibility that Mother superior was giving Deloris responsibility, and this is a key part in the play. The baton was used to symbolise acceptance, tolerance, and the passing of power and responsibility.
The lighting played a major part in Sister Act, especially during the scenes where Deloris is portrayed as a cabaret singer. The red and orange floods helped to portray Deloris as her cabaret self, however, most scenes in the convent had a light blue and mild orange Fresnel light, showing the difference between the two personalities of Deloris. Furthermore, during a song, there was a spotlight included, which helped to identify each character, although the flood lights brightened, giving the spotlight a less defining feature, helping to make Deloris clear, but at the same time, unify the chorus. In my opinion, the change in lighting suited the play well, and brought about the intricate details. Furthermore, whenever a tense scene took place, the lighting would change to a deep red and bright orange, increasing the tenseness in the audience, and helping to portray the sense of fear and nervousness that the characters show.
As this was a musical, music dominated most of the play. It added to the performance, and the songs used helped the audience to understand and identify with the characters. Moreover, in most of the songs, it is mostly major, giving the characters a sense of joy and energy, and portraying that feeling to the audience. Furthermore, the music also helped to create atmosphere, by adding to the setting, such as when the convent’s bell chimes, adding to the set in a realistic way. Also the play features a live orchestra, which adds effect, and adds to the audience interaction, while using recordings would separate the actors from the audience.