Having Nun Of It
Most people wouldn’t say they have the supreme, bar-bragging-worthy ability to relate with the plight of a ninety-one-year-old nun with a chip on her shoulder.
The folks behind The Motherhouse, however, beg to differ.
Recounting the story of Sister Constance McMullen, the play follows her scheming after she learns about the inevitable eviction of the last nuns from the Grey Nuns Motherhouse building. She hatches a plan to resist the eviction that easily makes her the most hardcore nun any of us have ever met.
This is, as co-director and writer Tamara Lagrandeur put it, “a gold mine for comedy.”
The play stars Amanda McQueen, who, despite the arduous task of having to age eighty years overnight (thanks to the undisputed magic of make-up and wigs), manages to channel the role of the quick-witted nun.
“She has great comedic timing,” said co-director Kyle Purves. “She’s brought a lot to the character.”
Beyond the comedy, a humane element is also present throughout the play, which will ensure that the tears shed by audiences will not solely stem from laughter.
“We really wanted to make this character a real person, someone that anyone could relate to,” said Purves. “It’s short and sweet and hilarious, but it also has a real good heart to it and I think it’s something that is going to be extremely entertaining for a lot of people.”
Shown as part of this semester’s Student-Initiated Production Assignment/Short Works Festival, the play will be part of a showcase that promises to have “some pretty experimental work,” said Purves.
“The festival gives a chance for students to experiment and test out their ideas with support from the department,” said Lagrandeur.
In their case, the route from inked words to the vigour of the stage appears to have been totally organic.
“A play becomes your baby and it can be hard to see other people poke and prod at it,” said Lagrandeur. “You have to be able to let it go and embrace the fact that the final product won’t be exactly what you handed in when you wrote it.”
While the tagline itself (“Concordia University is kicking them out and this sister will have nun of it!”) is arguably an ample reason as to why we should all be spending a night at ye olde theatre next week.
For her part, Lagrandeur has taken a rather novel way to attract all kinds of audiences; chicken wings will be offered to those for whom the play does not elicit laughs.
“I just wanted people to know that I am confident that this show will make them laugh,” she explained. “And if it doesn’t, they get tasty chicken wings—on me!”
The Motherhouse runs from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14 at Cazalet Studio (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.). Tickets are $2. Show times: Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 13 at 8:00 p.m., Nov. 14 at 4:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 13, published November 9, 2010.