Agnes of God | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Agnes of God


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AGNES OF GOD, Temporary Theatre Company. Early in the book of Revelation, Christ growls: "Would that you were cold or hot! Because you are lukewarm . . . I will spew you out of my mouth." He could have easily been talking about Suzanne E. Hannon's production of Agnes of God. Little of the power in John Pielmeier's play about a novice who hears voices and claims to have been knocked up by the Lord sur- vives Hannon's dull direction or her cast's uninspired, community-theater-style acting.

Set in a psychiatrist's office, Agnes of God is essentially a two-hour cat fight between two very opinionated women--a bitchy lapsed Catholic psychiatrist who hates the church with all her heart and soul and an equally difficult mother superior whose love for the church in all its dysfunctional glory verges on the pathological. While competing for the soul of sweet, screwed-up Agnes, they also thrash their way through many of the questions that vex would-be believers: what separates saints from psychotics, believers from neurotics, the faithful from the willfully ignorant?

Unfortunately, Allyson Metcalf as the doctor, Jody Wilson as the reverend mother, and Bethany Anderson as Agnes never manage to convince us that these religious questions are anything more than handy segues into excruciatingly overacted sequences. Metcalf doesn't so much play Dr. Livingstone: she plays Jane Fonda playing Dr. Livingstone in Norman Jewison's 1985 flaccid snore of a movie.

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