by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
Florida State College’s Wilson Center on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville will be alive with the sound of laughter through Mother’s Day May 8, with the latest installment of Late Night Catechism on stage. We saw the first two versions in previous years and this one is even better.
If you missed the first two, here is how it works. The set is a classroom setting complete with an American flag, an oak desk and lectern, a blackboard, and posters. On stage comes our teacher, a nun known only as Sister and performed by Nonie Newton-Breen with comic brilliance. Sister wears a traditional black habit, and has a formidable presence. For the first hour she does a lot of comedic improvisation using the members of the audience, who are the students, as source material. Don’t arrive late; you may be the subject of her gentle rant about being punctual.
The earlier installments of this show were concerned with sins and saints, but this one is big on marriage and death and other matters of the Catholic Church. Oh, you ask, do I have to be Catholic to enjoy this? Heck no, in fact in an unofficial survey by Sister, it looked like 70% or more of the crowd was not of this faith, but did believe in hardy laugher. You don’t even have to be married to enjoy it. As to that part about the death, we did not notice anyone who fit that description but everyone is welcome!!!
Sister brought us up to date on the latest in the Church. For example the Church now embraces aliens as potential members and when you finally get to heaven (we hope you are going there), you may find that heaven looks a lot like the bar in “Star Wars.” Another hot bit of news we learned is that you can throw away those Saint Christopher medals you have been carrying around in your automobiles; they don’t work because St. Chris has been unsainted. We will let Sister explain that to you when you see the show.
After a brief intermission where Sister allowed us to go unsupervised to the restrooms, we were treated to a special version of the old TV show “The Newlywed Game.” This version is called “The Compatibility Game,” and has two married couples, answering some wild and crazy questions doled out by Sister. And there are many prizes too!! But don’t worry about winning one and having to declare it on your income tax; Sister is on a very very low budget.
In case you don’t have a lot of knowledge of the Catholic Church, don’t worry, you won’t need it, and anyway Sister has a short session where you can ask questions. I am not sure the answers she gave were sanctioned by the Pope, but you will laugh.
We don’t want to give away too much, but will pass along a couple of the sage bits of advice from Sister. First you can learn a lot about religion from watching “South Park.” Second, if you are in a failing or failed marriage, you might want to look up Saint Rita, Patron Saint of unhappy marriages.
Ms. Newton-Breen has been doing this gig all over the country for the past eleven years and she is an expert at good-natured ribbing with fantastic comic timing. She makes the performance a fun and light-hearted couple of hours. Don’t worry about where you sit, Sister has an excellent sound system and can probably be heard in Heaven!!
No need to remind you Mother’s Day is Sunday, and your Mom would love it. You can order tickets by calling (904) 632-3373 or visit The Artist Series website: www.artistseriesjax.org.
'TIL DEATH DO US PART; LATE NITE CATECHISM
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM