Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
How we cite our quotes:
Stage Directions: Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz alone onstage with a small coffin. [...] A prayer shawl embroidered with a Star of David is draped over the lid, and by the head a yarzheit candle is burning. (1.1.1)
The first thing we see onstage is a rabbi – a pretty clear signal that this play will be touching on themes of religion and spirituality. Note also the Star of David, the symbol of Judaism, and the yarzheit candle, a candle lit to honor the dead. You'll find Jewish spiritual traditions threaded throughout the play.
Roy: [...]I'm not religious but I like God and God likes me. Baptist, Catholic?
Roy: Mormon. Delectable. Absolutely. Only in America. (1.2.40)
Here we have the first mention of the other major religion that the play deals with: Mormonism. Roy notes the fact that Mormonism is a distinctly American religion. This version of Christianity was established in the 1820s by Joseph Smith. We're guessing that Joe is named after this early spiritual leader.
Harper: When you look at the ozone layer, from outside, from a spaceship, it looks like a pale blue halo [...]. It's a gift, from God, the crowning touch to the creation of the world: guardian angels, hands linked [...] a shell of safety for life itself. (1.3.62)
Having been raised a Mormon, Harper sees everything through the lens of her spirituality. The ozone isn't just a scientific fact; it's a heavenly gift. It's not only a ring of gases in space; it's angels.