Overview

Chapel Perilous


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

AT: The Perilous Adventures of Sally Banner A: Dorothy Hewett Pf: 1971, Perth Pb: 1972; rev. 1977 G: Musical drama in 2 acts; prose and verse S: Western Australia, 1930s–60s C: 6m, 5f (includes doubling), extrasSally Banner is an intelligent, sensitive, and rebellious schoolgirl, who refuses to bow to the altar in the school chapel and defies authority by climbing the chapel tower. She explores her sexuality with her teenage lover Michael, then marries David, and has an affair with the Marxist Saul. Finding no fulfilment in her relationships with men, she turns to revolutionary politics but finds these as sterile. In her striving for independence, she writes profoundly felt poetry but alienates her family and lovers and tragically suffers the death of her child. A surreal trial takes place, in which all the characters she has caused to suffer return to accuse her, and she achieves a new insight into her own character. A rich celebrity in her middle age, she donates a stained-glass window of herself to her old school, and goes back to the chapel for its unveiling. She bows to the altar, but not so much as an act of submission but as a way of reclaiming her childhood and seeking harmony with herself and her contemporaries.

AT: The Perilous Adventures of Sally Banner A: Dorothy Hewett Pf: 1971, Perth Pb: 1972; rev. 1977 G: Musical drama in 2 acts; prose and verse S: Western Australia, 1930s–60s C: 6m, 5f (includes doubling), extras

Hewett is one of the most acclaimed Australian playwrights, and this is regarded as her best play. It is a sprawling episodic piece, linked with song and dance, and moving in register from elegant lyricism to bawdy ballads. The central figure of Sally Banner shocked many audiences and critics with her frank sexuality and concerned others with her apparent submission to conformity at the end.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


Reference entries
Authors

Dorothy Hewett (1923—2002)


Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.