Silver Spring Stage Agnes of GodBy Laura & Mike Clark • Sep 27th, 2007 • Category: Reviews, Stand Out!
Listen to our review of the Silver Spring Stage’s performance of Agnes of God [MP3 6:36 3MB].
Mike: This was a really deep show. It was very good, very well done. It was something that made us think for a couple of days. That’s why we’re a little bit late in getting the review done. You need to go see this show. It was a really good show.
Laura: It was definitely thought provoking. It makes you want to talk about it on the way home which is what Mike and I did. I liked the three actors. I thought they were very comfortable with each other. The set was good. It was a simple set. Design was good. Everything about it was a really good show. It was just a deep subject.
Mike: Agnes of God is a play by John Pielmeier. It’s the story of Sister Agnes who was discovered in a bedroom at her convent with a dead baby in a waste basket. She can’t remember how it got there. She can’t remember if she had the baby or who had the baby. She is taken to a psychiatrist, Dr. Livingstone, and is questioned about the occurrence to see if she is sane or not and competent to stand trial. Mother Miriam Ruth comes along to the sessions to make sure Agnes is kept safe because she is so innocent. It is a very thought provoking, deep play. There are no easy answers. There is not a nice wrap up at the end. It’s going to make you think and it’s going to really engage your mind.
Laura: Dr. Livingstone, the Psychiatrist who came to analyze Agnes to see if she was insane or able to stand trial for her crimes, was played by Lori Murray Sampson. She did a good job. She was very bitter towards God and just about anything religious.
Mike: She also served as the narrator of the show an she kept the show moving along through asides where she would let us into her thoughts and where she would break through the fourth wall. That was very effective. It sounds a little cheesy, but it really was very effective in moving the show along. And sharing with us what was happening since she didn’t have anyone else that she could talk with as an equal.
Laura: Mother Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior at the convent, was played by Laura Russell. She was very protective of Agnes. She was rather unwilling to let the psychiatrist talk with Agnes just the two of them because she knew that Agnes was innocent and was very protective of her.
Mike: She was a fascinating character because there were so many nuances about her and so many little parts about her that she would reveal throughout the show. It was kind of like an onion. All of a sudden when you thought you had her figured out she would drop something else in. There were lots of these reveals throughout the entire show. Although they never did quite get to the final reveal telling us what finally happened with Sister Agnes and this baby.
Laura: The third character was Agnes, the woman accused of murder. She was played by Jaclyn Young. She was so innocent and so sweet. She was not necessarily in la la land. Under hypnosis there were some things brought out.
Mike: She had a lot of emotion that she had to go through, a very wide range and very quickly. There flashback scenes and other scenes of memories coming out and she just did a great job on the emotions and shifting times like she had to. It was just a superb performance in that innocent role.
Laura: I liked the set for Agnes of God. It was a simple set. The set was designed by Don Slater.
Mike: The primary focus of the show was Dr. Livingstone’s office. That was very simple. A desk, two chairs, and basic office equipment on top of the desk. The characters just moved around the office. There was also a section of the set further back on stage which served as the convent. Sister Agnes and Mother Miriam would go up and reenact some of the scenes that took place at the convent. It worked really well. The lighting was a big help on that. Lighting was designed by Chris Curtis. That helped us to very easily keep track of what was going on either as an aside from the doctor or at the convent as the characters didn’t have to leave the stage. They could just move into a different lighted section.
Laura: The Sound Designer for for Agnes of God was Kevin Garrett. It was very subtle, but it added to the theme. The points of tension during the show were very good. It was very nice music.
Mike: The music definitely added to the atmosphere. There were some very subtle sound effects that were done. Such as water dripping and things like that. It was a really good use of the space at the Silver Spring Stage. The dynamics of the art that went into the show. The lighting, the sound, the actual set, and the actors all worked together very well.
Laura: One thing that was kind of interesting was Dr. Livingstone was a chain smoker to beat all chain smokers. She went through at least a pack during the performance. Instead of lighting it she would just take the end of one cigarette and light another which probably took some practice. There was a lot of smoking. Granted they were herbal cigarettes so there was no nicotine, but the smoke did get kind of overpowering sometimes.
Mike: We really enjoyed this show. We’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days and this show is a Stand Out. We did kind of waffle a little bit. I don’t know what I would have done better or differently on this show. It just has stuck with me for a couple days now. So we’re going to call it a Stand Out show. You need to go see it at Silver Spring Stage.
Laura: Agnes of God is approximately an hour and fifty minutes with one intermission. It is playing through Sunday October 14. Friday and Saturdays at 8 and two Sunday matinees, on the 30th and the 14th at 2 pm at the Woodmoor Shopping Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Definitely recommend that you go see this show.
Mike: Once you’ve seen this show, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Simply leave your comments on our website. We’d also like to invite you to join our mailing list to stay informed with what’s happening in the DC area theatre community.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
Photos provided by Silver Spring Stage.
- Dr. Livingstone: Lori Murray Sampson
- Mother Miriam Ruth: Laura Russell
- Agnes: Jaclyn Young
- Producer: Marcia Kolko
- Director: Megan Dreisbach
- Assistant Director: Marcia Kolko
- Stage Manager: Chris Curtis
- Technical Director: Don Slater
- Set Designer: Don Slater
- Master Carpenter: Jacy D’Aiutolo
- Set Painting: The Cast and Crew
- Lighting Designer: Chris Curtis
- Sound Designer: Kevin Garrett
- Costume Designer: Eric Scerbo
- Set Dressing: Mary Dalto
- Properties: Megan Dreisbach & Marcia Kolko
- Makeup & Hair Design: The Cast
- Light Operator: Rob Argue
- Sound Operator: Kevin Garrett
- Vocal Coach: Amy Martin
- Photographer: Neil Edgell, Jr.
- Program: Leta Hall
- Program Cover Design: Audrey Cefaly
- Subscription Brochure: Audrey Cefaly
- Artistic Liaison: Carol Leahy
- Opening Night Party (September 22nd): Richard Ley
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2047.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.