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Agnes of God

Agnes of God
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: John Pielmeier
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
# of Pages: 80
Pub. Date: 2010
ISBN-10: 0573630224
ISBN-13: 9780573630224
Cast Size: 3 female

About the Play:

Agnes of God has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Female/Female Scenes.

Agnes of God is a full-length drama by John Pielmeier. A court psychiatrist attempts to unravel the case of a dead newborn found in the wastebasket of Sister Agnes, a young nun who has no memory of the incident. The psychiatrist does battle with a strong-willed Mother Superior who insists the child was immaculately conceived. All three women are forced to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love, leading to a dramatic, compelling climax.

Agnes of God tells the powerful, disturbing story of a naive young nun accused of murdering her newborn baby, and of the ensuing tug-of-war between science and faith over her innocence or guilt. When a dead newborn is found, wrapped in bloody sheets, in the bedroom wastebasket of young and special Sister Agnes, a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist is called in to determine if the seemingly innocent novice nun, who knows nothing of sex or birth, is competent enough to stand trial for the murder of the baby. Dr. Martha Livingstone, who is herself a lapsed Catholic, is asked to determine if Agnes, who insists that the dead child was immaculately conceived, is guilty for murder or innocent by insanity. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determinedly keeps young Agnes away from the doctor's pointed questions, arousing Livingstone's suspicions further. Who is the father? No man had access to the nuns. Was Agnes alone in the room when the baby was born? Who killed the tiny victim? While searching for the answer that her supervisors want, Dr. Livingston finds herself inevitably drawn into searching for the truth about the baby's conception and death. Despite the lack of cooperation that she receives from her own organization and the church itself, she and those around her, eventually discover more than they may have bargained for. Based upon a real life police case of a novice nun in Boston, accused of murdering her baby, Agnes of God is a contemporary murder mystery intended to transcend the boundaries of religion and appeal to those who are both religious and not.

Agnes of God was first staged in 1979 the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights' Conference. The play premiered professionally in 1980 at the famed Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the annual Festival of New American Plays. It play opened in 1982 at the Music Box Theatre and had a seventeen-month run on Broadway. Since then the play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, church, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female

What people say:

"Riveting, powerful, electrifying drama… the dialogue crackles." — New York Daily News

"Outstanding play [that]… deals intelligently with questions of religion and psychology." — New York Times

"Unquestionably blindingly theatrical… cleverly executed blood and guts evening in the theatre." — New York Post

About the Playwright:

John Pielmeier is an American playwright, actor and screenwriter best known for his stage play Agnes of God. He began his career as an actor, working at Actors Theater of Louisville, The Guthrie Theater, Milwaukee Rep, Alaska Rep, Baltimore's Center Stage, and the O'Neill National Playwrights' Conference. It was at the O'Neill that his play Agnes of God was first staged.

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