- Paperback: 72 pages
- Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (October 1, 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0822210355
- ISBN-13: 978-0822210351
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #766,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and the Actor's Nightmare
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Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and the Actor's Nightmare by Christopher Durang.
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Top Customer Reviews
The other play in this volume is okay. Clever enough, I think it would be more effective on stage. It could be that I could visualize Sister Mary having seen a production of it, while I came at An Actor's Nightmare cold.
Four former students of Sister Mary arrive at her 25th anniversary celebrationto find her on stage expounding church dogma, answering questions from the audience, and telling doubting individuals that they will go to hell. The four former students have found that Sister Mary's view of the world has left them unprepared to face the devastating circumstances of their lives--abortion, rape, homosexuality, alcoholism, unwed motherhood, sexual abuse by a priest, thoughts of suicide, the suffering of a loved one from cancer. As they confront her with realities, the confrontation becomes increasingly emotional, and Sister Mary resorts to name-calling, screaming insults, and bullying. The climax is stunning and may offend some reader/viewers.
The second play, An Actor's Nightmare, is much less a play than a soliloquy. When the lead actor in an unnamed play cannot appear, another actor, totally unprepared, is forced to take his place. The play brings a nightmare to life, as the unprepared actor, George Spelvin, recites lines from Noel Coward's Private Lives, switches to Hamlet, then to Samuel Beckett in an effort to keep from "drying up." As he becomes more emotional, he recites everything else he remembers--the Pledge of Allegiance, the Catholic Act of Contrition, The Lord's Prayer, and eventually his ABC's.
Nightmare and tragedy infuse both these works, which also manage, through their ironies, to tap into the bleakest of humor. The characters evoke empathy, but Durang's quick pace and the outrageous disconnects among his characters keep emotional events from becoming maudlin. His weird wit always shines through. Mary Whipple