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Wednesday, January 12,2011

Curtain Call

’Nuns,’ ’Maine’ take the stage

by Christopher Horb

’Nuns’ make a habit of comedy


The nuns depicted by playwright Vicki Quade may not sing or dance, a la “Sister Act” and they certainly don’t fly like Sally Field did on 1960s TV screens.


No, what the sisters featured in Quade’s works — like long-running fan-favorite “Late Night Catechism” — can be counted on for is simply telling it like it is Stormfield Theatre’s new “Put the Nuns in Charge” finds Mother Superior riffing on a range of topical subjects from cell phones to “road rage” to celebrity bad behavior (watch out, Russell Crowe) as she illustrates the seven deadly sins, and the audience is not spared from her musings, according to Quade.


“It’s definitely an interactive experience: We pick on people in the audience,” she said. “Those who want to participate raise their hands and the ones who do pretty much love it.”


The concept of the show finds Mother Superior (played by Breeda Kelly Miller) addressing the audience directly, as though they were students in a classroom. The reactions of audience members help dictate the show.


Though not a sequel, “Nuns” is a companion piece to “Catechism,” which has become a sensation since its 1993 debut.


Quade says she is “not mocking religion by any means” but merely mining the more over-the-top components of faith for comedy. Her characters are not silly but realistic portrayals based on her experiences with nuns during her own Catholic upbringing.


“It’s important that we can still laugh at the things that are important to us, and religion is definitely one of the them,” she said.


“It’s great to create a character so real you’re convinced the actress is a real nun."


’Put the Nuns in Charge’


Stormfield Theatre 201 Morgan Lane, Frandor. 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays Jan. 13-23. $18
Thursdays; $24 Fridays and Saturdays; $20 Sundays. Seniors 65 get $2
off any regular price ticket; students with valid ID are $10. (517) 372-0945 www.stormfieldtheatre.org or www.lansingarts.org


’Maine’ attraction at Riverwalk


The weather outside may be frightful but for residents of this wintry little town things are starting to heat up.


“Almost, Maine” is both the name of and setting for playwright Joe Cariani’s ode to the ups and downs of love amid the closeknit members of a small-town American community.


Award-winning actor Joe Dickson makes his directorial bow with the Riverwalk Theatre production, and said it was the writing that lured him to the helm.


“It was love at first sight with the script,” Dickson said. “I was hooked right away.”


This
whimsical look at romance consists of a series of vignettes depicting
nine couples navigating the joys and pitfalls of their relationships.
The Wall Street Journal called it “a comic romantic roundelay” and The
New York Daily News dubbed it “sweet, poignant and witty.”


“It’s a really heartwarming play,” Dickson said. “I compare it to a warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night.”


The cast features of a mix of veteran and novice performers, including
Joseph Baumann, Tricia Turek, Scott Laban, Susie Coleman, Steve
Ledyard, Lauren Lopez, Elitza Nicolaou, Adam Carlson, Kara DeKatch, Jeff
and SaDonna Croff, Mike Stewart, Gordon Clark, Erik Grill, Ann Carlson,
Justin Brewer, Erin Hoffman and Angela Dill.


’Almost, Maine’


Riverwalk
Theatre 228 Museum Drive, Lansing 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and
Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays Jan. 13-23 $14 adults, $12 for seniors 55 or
students. $10 adults for Thursday performances; $8 seniors and students
on Thursdays. (517) 482-5700 www.riverwalktheatre.com



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