Etcetera Theatre

Conference Call / Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

Conference Call / Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

Conference Call by Howard Colyer. Directed by Helen Niland 

Martin Mills is a risk-taking, city banker, who has developed severe mental blockages, brought on by an extremely painful life event. Through this he has lost all memory of his life and identity; his last memory was chasing a female ghost around a cemetery reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards, whilst performing a disturbing religious ceremony.

Conference Call, is just that, a long metaphorical conference call within Martin Mills’ mind, between the thinker (Martin) and three doctors, (the committee in his mind) who represent fetchers and carriers of memories in his consciousness, all fighting against the thinker in his internal dialogue. The doctors fail to agree at times, causing a division and psychological problems; all three and the thinker conspire together finding undesirable things in the memory. Certain unleashed memories cause uproar, and Martin’s mind goes on strike so he is unable to remember what happened to his missing wife.

 

Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You by Christopher Durang. Directed by Katherine Wootton

Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You is a savage dark comedy, exploring the absurdity of religious fanaticism unmitigated by compassion. Sister Mary, assisted by her current star pupil, 7-year-old Thomas, impatiently explains the ’rules’ of life as dictated by Catholic dogma and catechism to the audience, and the dire consequences should these rules be flouted. She is interrupted by four of her former students, who present a silly version of the nativity play written by one of the sister’s best students. After their play, we soon discover each has been deeply wounded by the sister’s fanatically strict teaching. This confrontation builds in emotion and tension before exploding in an absurd, nihilistic, and unsettling dénouement. The play is viciously satirical, but also troubling, the audience should be laughing out loud but also slightly appalled that they are.

 
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