Young Agnes, a novice nun, is a hot psychological mess. She believes her dead baby is the product of virgin conception. Combine that already mind-bending possibility with a violent childhood, and professional help is definitely in order.
This is the premise of John Pielmeier's Agnes of God, the latest of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center's theatrical productions. Some may remember the 1985 movie of the same name. This play is not that movie. Not by a long shot.
"Oh! The movie was horrid," says FAC producing artistic director Scott RC Levy. "Very shallow."
The play is, according to Levy, a thriller of the mind. The premise of the stage version is the same as the movie (and based loosely on real-life events), but the dialogue is more expansive, and the production takes more time to explore the role religion plays in society and psychology. "This is a memory play," Levy says of the production's reflective quality. "The physical aspect is very minimalist and the set is abstract."
As the production drills down psychologically, Levy says, it showcases some of the Springs' talented female actors. There are only three characters in the play: Dr. Livingstone, played by Jane Fromme; Mother Superior, played by Kathy Paradise; and, of course, Agnes, played by Carmen Vreeman.
Referring to the cast, Levy says, "Of course they are some tremendously talented women, but their voices really work well, too."
For those who'd explore some of the deeper questions to which the play lends itself, there will be a "talk back" forum after the matinée performance April 5. This event will include Dr. Dan Shaw and his colleagues in the Department of Religion at Colorado College, as well as theology students, teachers and the cast and crew. Levy will facilitate.