I’ve never been to any convent but watching Agnes of God took me to an imaginary trip to the nunnery -quiet, holy, and mysterious. But what surprised me was that a baby was found dead in a small convent room in a waste basket, asphyxiated.
How could a silent convent be a place for murder?
REP (Repertory Philippines) celebrates its golden year by bringing back to the stage the gripping, powerful and emotional play, Agnes of God, as part of its exciting 50th-year offerings.
Agnes of God was written by notable playwright John Pielmeier. Pielmeier was inspired to write the play after seeing an article in a newspaper about an event that occurred in a convent in Brighton, New York, just outside the city limits of Rochester. The play was first staged in 1979 in the US and was staged here in the Philippines in 1983 with veteran actress Pinky Amador who played the role of Agnes where she bagged the Best Actress in the 1983 Aliw Awards. Pinky returns in the re-staging as Mother Miriam Ruth, the strong-willed Mother Superior who fiercely protects Agnes and claims her pregnancy was an Immaculate conception.
What thickens the plot was when a court psychiatrist was sent to examine Agnes. Dr. Martha Livingstone was an atheist played by a veteran actress Menchu Launchengco-Yulo. Menchu delivered a superb performance as Martha, from a hard-nosed court psychiatrist and atheist to faith-searching healer. Menchu gave a convincing performance, even going on to smoke which she never does in real life.
Agnes was played by Becca Coates –sweet and innocent with an angelic face. She’s perfect to play the role. Becca gave justice to the role and she was able to stand on her own alongside two veteran actresses during every scene.
The three actress portrayal of their characters were outstanding. The scenes were intense. The set was simple yet it spoke with a lot of emotions. The light was on cue highlighting the characters.
Agnes of God showed a stark examination of faith, innocence, compassion, and humanity.
Catch REP’s Agnes of God directed by the highly-acclaimed Bart Guingona in collaboration with REP-trained and Set Design professor at Fordham University, New York, Joey Mendoza. The show will run from February 17 to March 12 at the OnStage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati City.