Agnes of God

Agnes of God presented in April 2014 by Greater Rochester Repertory Companies

by John Pielmeier

Directed by Don Bartalo

Presented in April and May 2014

Performances were at RAPA's East End Theatre

Agnes of God was written in 1979 by John Pielmeier. The play tells the story of a novice nun who gives birth and insists that the dead child was the result of a virgin conception. A psychiatrist and the mother superior of the convent clash during the resulting investigation. The title is a pun on the Latin phrase Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).

The plot features Sister Agnes, a young and innocent novice of French ethnicity, molested by her mother as a child, who sings in an ethereal voice and was impregnated by an unknown entity, which makes for much of the mystery of the drama. The psychiatrist, Martha Livingston, interrogates her and narrates the story.

Click here to read the CITY paper review including photos by Annette Dragon.

Click on the poster to view it full size.

The Cast

Mother Superior will be played by Denise Bartalo, a well-known actress in Rochester community theatre. Denise recently won acclaim for her role of Violet in the JCC production of “August: Osage County,"- the same role Meryl Streep plays in the movie version. Denise has appeared most recently with GRRC as Phyllis in the farce, "Ping" during Rochester's Fringe Festival, and as Molly Ralston in Dame Agatha Christie's famed “The Mousetrap."

Sister Agnes will be played by Marcy Savastano. Marcy is recognized throughout the Rochester community and beyond as an outstanding actress. Her résumé is extensive having performed numerous times with seven Rochester-based theatre groups. Her most notable accomplishments include “Death of a Salesman”, “Angels in America”, “Marie Antoinette”, “Prelude to a Kiss”, “Measure for Measure”, “As You Like It”, “The Lesson”, “War Terrier”, and “Hamlet”.

Doctor Martha Livingston will be played by Erin-Kate Howard. Erin-Kate has performed both locally with GeVa, GVCA, Blackfriars, Method Machine, Shakespeare Players and Lady Parts Theatre. In New York City with the Gallery Players, DAP Ensemble, Culture Project, and Odyssey Ensemble. Her body of theatrical work includes “Exit Pursued by a Bear”, “Measure for Measure”, “Angels in America”, “Rabbit Hole”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “The Marriage of Bette and Boo”, “Wild Honey”, “A Wedding Album”, “Anthony & Cleopatra”, “And Then They Came for Me”, and “A Christmas Carol”.

The Genesis of “Agnes of God”

The play was written in 1979. The first professional production was in 1980. “Agnes of God” opened on Broadway in 1982. A few years before the play was written (1976) a similar incident occurred in a convent in Brighton, New York, just outside the city line of Rochester. This incident was the catalyst for John Pielmeier to write“Agnes of God”. It is to be noted that the play “Agnes of God” is not the Rochester story.

 


 

The cast of GRRC's production of Agnes of God directed by Don Bartalo


The Cast of Agnes of God

Marcy Savastano as Sister Agnes and Erin-Kate Howard as Dr. Martha Livingstone in a scene from Agnes of God.

 

The Cast of Agnes of God

Erin-Kate Howard as Dr. Martha Livingstone with Denise Bartalo as Mother Superior in a scene from Agnes of God.