Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Late Night Catechism 2

‘LATE NITE CATECHISM 2,’ is fun, but not as much as the first one

At the opening night performance of ‘LATE NITE CATECHISM 2, SOMETIMES WE FEEL GULTY BECAUSE WE ARE GUILTY,’ which is now on stage at the Brooks Theatre of the Cleveland Play House, you could tell the audience members who had attended Catholic school. Each time they answered a question, were called upon, or harassed, they obediently answered, “Yes Sister.”

This script is a continuation of Catechism 1, complete with the same concept. The audience is an assemblage of students who are a classroom in which a fully-habited nun is taking the place of the “regular “ instructor, a priest who is away on a golfing retreat.

Having seen “1” with Maripat Donovan, the play’s co-author and original “Sister,” I have to admit that this is presentation pales by comparison.

The punishment isn’t as “severe” and Sister’s tongue is not as sharp. Even when Sister (Lisa Buscani) reprimands the “harlot” in the second row for wearing a plunging neckline, and makes her fill in the gap with Kleenex, or tells the “Jewish guy” in the third row to get his hand off the back of the chair of the woman sitting next to him, the audience doesn’t anticipate that the ceiling will separate and lighting will strike the sinners.

This sister has a calm voice, a twinkle in her eye and isn’t walking around slapping the ruler on the desk, let alone on the knuckles of her “victims.” And, that might be the reason of why this is a pleasant, but not a hilarious evening.

I did learn a great deal about the history and “philosophy” of the Catholic church. I learned that the Notre Dame nuns are “ a tough crowd.” (Being a faculty member at Notre Dame College, I can attest to that.) Also, that canonization is the Catholic Church’s “Good House Keeping Seal of Approval;” that Catholics don’t judge, “that’s the job of the Baptists;” Episcopalians are Catholics with cash; and Catholics were forbidden to eat fish on Friday because a Pope from Portugal made the declaration in order to increase his country’s profits from fishing. (That’s the truth, and I know so because I was told it by “Sister.”)

I also learned that besides traditional sins, there are new ones including road rage, excessive inking and body piercing, wearing underwear as clothing, dining at Hooters and driving a car with a dashboard bobble head doll of any of the holy trinity. Yep, that’s what Sister said.

CAPSULE JUDGMENT: “LATE NIGHT CATECHISM 2’ is a pleasantly funny theatrical experience. Not hysterically funny, but pleasant. It makes for a nice summer evening of entertainment.