Monday, July 15, 2024

“Agnes of God”: A Stirring Theatrical Puzzle

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Square One Theatre Company
Stratford Academy, 719 Birdseye Street
Weekends until Sunday, March 26th.

By Bonnie Goldberg

What might happen when emotions, morals and religion clash, crash and collide? What feelings might that clash awaken in you, especially if you have a relationship with the Catholic Church? Fasten your seat belts for a wildly and dramatic ride that will expose you to what theater is capable of presenting.

If you are the Mother Superior at a convent, what might you think if a novice nun claims the baby she gave birth to is the result of an immaculate conception like Mary and Jesus and that this is a virgin event. Even more mystifying, what if the novice has no memory of the event and can explain none of it.

When that baby is found dead, what might your feelings be? The resulting investigation causes an explosion of beliefs between the Mother Superior and the female psychiatrist assigned to discover the truth and you, the audience, are firmly trapped in the dramatic debate about Agnes and what really happened.

Artistic Director Tom Holehan of the Square One Theatre Company of Stratford has assembled a talented cast of three to perform this gem of a play written in 1979 by John Pielmeier. The playwright read a newspaper story about a nun and her baby and used that as the starting point for “Agnes of God.” Holehan will be exposing and exploring all the possibilities and explanations, rational, religious, miraculous and unbelievable at the theatre located at Stratford Academy.

Lucy Babbitt is the commanding Mother Superior Miriam Ruth who wants to protect Agnes and avoid a scandal. What responsibility does she play in Agnes’s dilemma? And what of Agnes’s mother, a woman who drank and isolated her daughter from the world and filled her head with insecurities and negative feelings? Priscilla Squiers’s role as Dr. Martha Livingstone is to determine the truth through gentle questioning of Agnes and even hypnosis. And what of Sister Agnes, a tormented Celine Montaudy, who doesn’t remember or understand the trauma she experienced?

For tickets ($22, seniors and students $20, front row $25),call Square One at 203-375-8778 or online at www.squareonetheatre.com.

Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Talkbacks will occur after the 4 p.m. performances at the theatre, and on Tuesday, March 28th at noon at the Lovell Room of the Stratford Library.

Come bear witness to Agnes and her puzzling predicament and relationship with her mother and with God. Agnus Dei means Lamb of God and Agnes looks to God to be her shepherd and help her find answers.

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