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  Agnes of God at American Theater Company

Agnes of God

American Theater Company
1909 W Byron Chicago

Upstate New York. 1984. A court-ordered psychiatrist battles with a Mother Superior when she attempts to discover the truth concerning a young novitiate who is accused of an unimaginable crime. Runs with Doubt in The Catholic Repertory.

Thru - Nov 4, 2012

Price: $33-$43

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-409-4125

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  Agnes of God Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...“Agnes of God” deals with a novice nun (Rifai) who we know has given birth but who wants to convince a court psychologist (played by Walker) that the baby was the result of a virgin birth. The nun’s Mother Superior (Skinner) is in the middle of it all. It is still an interesting and relevant piece (and the potential consequences of childhood abuse make up one of its themes), but it’s a much woollier piece of writing than “Doubt.” Those issues are exsasperated by a much less secure production that never seems to have grabbed on to the story. Walker, who is so terrific in “Doubt,” is much less commanding in “Agnes,” wherein she does not seem totally comfortable with the text. Rifai starts out powerful, but the characterization becomes muddled with the rest of the production, and Skinner struggles, frankly, to make her second character sufficiently distinct from the first. The tension in the show dissipates just as it should be coming to a boil."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...It is set in motion after Sister Agnes (Rifai), a novice nun, gives birth in the convent, and is accused of strangling her baby with its umbilical cord. The intensely spiritual Agnes, who was long abused by her mother, and who may be profoundly mentally ill, insists the child was the product of a virgin conception. And the far from naive Mother Superior (Skinner) would prefer to keep the myth going for many complex personal and political reasons."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Agnes of God, meanwhile, is just one hysterical crying fit after another."
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Zac Thompson

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...From a supportive but exhausted mother in Doubt to a hardened psychiatrist in Agnes of God, Penelope Walker makes a striking physical transformation, but line trouble plagues her latter performance. There is a seismic shift between Sadieh Rifai’s passive Sister James and deeply damaged Sister Agnes. Rifai’s two characters are united by their innocence and naïveté, despite manifesting those qualities in different ways. ATC has assembled a strong cast for these powerful works, but the Catholic Repertory needs some extra polish to become a truly transcendent experience."
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Oliver Sava

ShowBizChicago - Recommended

"...In Agnes of God, belief comes into the picture again when a nun, Sr. Agnes gives birth to a baby that is brutally found murdered in a wastebasket, and a court appointed psychiatrist is brought in to learn exactly what happened. Why was there a baby, and why did it die? The Mother Superior is with Agnes to protect her from the truth and from herself. Was this a deliberate act or was this an act of a very mentally sick young woman who is not fully aware of what is real? The story portrays all three women who have secrets that are either deliberately kept confidential, or are held back through some psychosis. The audience is there to determine through brilliant acting of what is true and what is real."
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Michael Roberts

Chicago On the Aisle - Recommended

"...Skinner offers an appealing mother superior, a woman with more profound matters at stake than meet the eye, and Walker cuts a sharp-eared psychiatrist with a believable urge not just to discover, but to help. That said, neither Skinner nor Walker seemed quite secure with their lines, or sure of their expressive intent, on opening night. It was Rifai’s wide-ranging performance as Agnes, a girl with old secrets too hideous to remember, that ultimately led one to understand and care about all three women."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

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