Monday, January 27, 2003

Late Night Catechism (Playhouse Square Center)

‘LATE NIGHT CATECHISM’ delights at Hanna

When you go see ‘LATE NIGHT CATECHISM’ at the Hanna Theatre, and you should, there are a few “rules” you better follow. Don’t chew gum because Sister will make you spite it out. Don’t think of swallowing it because, as Sister says, “it stays in your stomach six weeks.” Don’t talk while she is talking. A “heathen” Jewish lady did, and Sister made her change her seat. A duo was whispering and had to stand up in front of the entire “class” and apologize. Be aware that if she finds out you didn’t go to Catholic school you’ll get her lecture about your parents not loving you.

You’ll learn much during this delightful interactive theatre piece. Sister will inform you that Dead Catholic accountants keep track of your indulgences, that she once had a nun teacher who was so old that “she could have been a waitress at the last supper” and that “Episcopalions are really Catholic-lites.” You also be told that St. Simeon Stylis was the patron saint of pole sitters and two Notre Dame nuns can beat the “hell out of 3 Ursilines.” Also, did you know that nuns are really gang members? Sure they are, they wear a common uniforms, hang around together, have colors.

And so it goes. One hysterically funny comment after another. ‘LATE NIGHT CATECHISM’ is not for the plot oriented, it’s not thinking person’s theatre. This is just plain fun stuff.
Do you have to be Catholic to appreciate the goings-on. No, but, it doesn’t hurt. Several of the opening-night attenders were planning using this experience on an on-going basis instead of going to confession. And, even though it’s a production based on audience participation, you can hide and not participate. That is, if Sister doesn’t catch you.

Lisa Buscani, who plays Sister in this hoped-for long-running local production, is a delight. She is not only knowledgeable and opinionated about the church, but she is excellent at ad libbing and making the entire evening delightful.

And, true the Catholic Church, you’ll have a chance to play bingo and place an offering in the collection box.

Capsule judgment: You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy LATE NIGHT CATECHISM, but it helps!