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Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s “Agnes Of God” Depicts Intriguing Battle Between Faith And Reason


If you enjoy watching the unfolding of a drama that takes you out of your comfort zone, you won’t be disappointed with Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s production of AGNES OF GOD directed by Richard Rubendra and produced at their new venue THEATRE 102 – situated in the heart of the Redcliffe Peninsula at 102 Anzac Avenue.

An excerpt of this play is currently being presented on the SE Qld Drama Festival Circuit and has already received 5 prestigious awards in only 2 festivals, including Best Actress in a dramatic role and Highly Commended Drama.

Written by John Pielmeier in 1979 and first performed in 1982, Agnes of God was made famous by the film adaptation starring Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly released in 1985.

The stage play concerns three main characters: Martha, the psychiatrist; Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior; and Agnes, the novice. There are no other characters on stage and all three roles are considered demanding for the actors playing them.

Martha covers the full gamut of emotion during the play, from nurturer to antagonist, from hard-nosed court psychiatrist and atheist to faith-searching healer. She is always on stage and has only three small respites from monologues or dialogue while Agnes and the Mother Superior enact flashbacks to events at the convent. The Mother Superior must expound the possibilities of miracles while recognizing the realities of today's world. Agnes is a beautiful but tormented soul whose abusive upbringing has affected her ability to think rationally.

This play sets up a war between court-appointed psychiatrist Martha Livingstone (played by Madeleine Johns) and canny Mother Superior (played by Deborah Rubendra) who struggle for the soul of otherworldly young nun Agnes (played by Ashley Prosser). Agnes is accused of giving birth to a child and strangling it – even though she has no memory of the impregnation, ensuing pregnancy or birth. Livingstone tries to discover the “truth” of how Agnes became pregnant and why she killed the child – but Mother Miriam Ruth implies the birth was a divine miracle and that delving too deep into Agnes psyche might needlessly destroy both the miracle and Agnes faith.

Miriam Ruth says “You’ll never find the answer to everything, doctor. One and one is two, yes, but that leads to four and then to eight and soon to infinity. The wonder of science is not the answers it provides but in the questions it uncovers. For every miracle it finally explains, ten thousand more miracles come into being.”

Ashley as Agnes will make audiences think one moment she is touched by God and the next that she is certifiably psychotic. Deborah as Mother Miriam Ruth shows her character’s struggle between her position as leader of the convent and the mother figure she must be to Agnes.

Madeleine as Dr Livingstone, who must determine Agnes’ capacity to stand trial for manslaughter, shows the persona of a haunted woman whose ghosts are just out of sight but never out of mind. She has a genuine caring for Agnes and an almost physical need to find a temporal explanation at all costs.

AGNES OF GOD will run for 4 performances only at THEATRE 102, 102 Anzac Avenue Redcliffe from September 7-10.

Tickets are $20 Adults, $17.50 Concession and $15 Children (12yrs and under).

Performances are Thursday 7.30pm (Special STUDENT night), Friday 7.30pm, Saturday at 2pm and 7.30pm and Sunday at 6pm.

Student rush tickets $15 will be available only at the door and subject to availability.

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