Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Good clean fun without the Whoopi

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

There's no Whoopi Goldberg in this production, but Godot Theater Company's Running Angel, a Mandarin adaptation of the Hollywood comedy Sister Act, has a cast full of swingin' singin' sisters.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GODOT THEATER COMPANY

No sex, drugs or rock-and-roll this weekend at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall -- just good clean fun and a whole lot of gospel music. Tonight the Godot Theater Company (果陀劇場) opens its latest production Running Angel, a Mandarin adaptation of the Hollywood comedy Sister Act.

The show borrows the blockbuster's entire plot but gives it an Asian twist with Cai Qin (蔡琴) playing Whoopi Goldberg's character, Deloris Van Cartier (aka Sister Mary Clarence). The popular Taiwanese songstress is making her second appearance in a Godot production, after starring in the lead role of last year's 1940's romantic drama Shanghai Love Song.

Founded in 1988 by James Chi-Ming Liang (梁志民) and Mag Lin Ling-yu (林靈玉), Godot has developed into one of Taiwan's leading drama companies. A lot of Liang's notoriety derives from his successful adaptations of Western theater classics, such as Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which Liang rewrote in 1989 to have a local spin and named The Little Town of Danshui.

When he's not revising famous theater or screen plots,Liang commissions pieces from local playwrights. The first locally produced script, a satire on cosmopolitan life in the nation's capital, Taipei Animal Men, was also the first avant-garde production staged by Godot.

The company may not delve into experimental theater on a regular basis, but it does not miss an opportunity to test different mediums.

While music and dance are regular fixtures in their productions, film projections are a recent addition to their shows. Running Angel is set in both Macau and Taipei, and rather than build a set to resemble Macau's cityscape, Liang uses film as a backdrop. Images of the city and casinos appear intermediately throughout the performance.

And in keeping with the theme, there will be plenty of singing and dancing, with more than 20 songs spontaneously bursting out during the two-and-half-hour performance. A large portion of the musical score has been composed specifically for the show, but there will be a few familiar tunes, which have been jazzed up gospel style.

The central character, played by Qin, is a lounge singer working at a casino in Macau. With a gang boss doubling as her boyfriend and a job she doesn't really enjoy, her life seems to be at a standstill until she witnesses a murder. Having turned to the police for protection, Qin is sent to Taipei and placed in a Catholic nunnery as part of a witness protection plan.

After several failed attempts to befriend the sisters, the nun impersonator begins to help with community projects and is eventually assigned to the convent's choir. After transforming the dull group of singers into a prize-winning chorus she wins the respect of the sisters and neighboring community. But the success is short-lived as her past catches up with her in Taipei.

Performance notes:

What: The Godot Theater Company brings to the stage its latest musical comedy,Running Angel.

Where: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) located at 505 Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (仁愛路4段505號)

When: Dec.10 to Dec.19 at 7:30pm with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm (No Monday performance)

Tickets: NT$400-2,500

Tickets are available on line at www.kham.com.tw or by calling Kham ticket service at (07) 740 1526.

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