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Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

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Here's news: It was written in 1981, and I've been reviewing since 1987, but this Proudly Presents production of Christopher Durang's Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You is the first I've ever seen.

Maybe that's not such a surprise. Unlike such shows as Black Patent Leather Shoes, Over the Tavern and Late Nite Catechism -- all of which poke fun at the craziness of Catholic dogma but end with a big hug for the Church -- Sister Mary is a scathing, scalding indictment of its soul-crushing and life-threatening reality.

Man, do I love this show!

A nun is giving us a lecture on the rules and rites of Mother Church. She's a crazed, hateful hypocrite who finds continued, and side-splitting, justification for all her venality. Durang uses her mindless horror to write acid-dipped humor. Her talk is the first part of this longish one-act; the play takes an even darker turn when ex-students show up to confront her.

Proudly Presents stages Sister Mary with a cute and quick companion one-act, The Actor's Nightmare, about a helpless schmo who finds himself on stage in a play he doesn't know and hasn't rehearsed.

And speaking of not rehearsing, I can't say for sure, but the production I saw of Sister Mary seemed not to have been rehearsed enough either. Dropped lines, missed cues and a real lack of energy sapped much of the bite and comedy from the material. Ken Lutz, Laura Hoffmann, Kami Smith and Shaun Nicole McCarthy brought some brighter moments to the evening, but more work lies ahead.

Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You and The Actor's Nightmare continue through Sun., Nov. 19. Gemini Theatre, 7501 Penn Ave., Point Breeze. 412-773-0885.

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