STAC Audition Notice for Agnes of God by John Pielmeier
Performance dates: 21st – 25th April, 2020 in the Studio. Audition Thursday 9th January 2020 at 7 30 p.m. Lower Studio. Director: Marc Dugmore
Agnes of God is a play based on a true story as reported in The New York Times in 1972. It concerns a psychologist, Martha Livingstone, who is sent to a convent to assess whether or not a young novitiate, Agnes, is sane or not. Agnes has been accused of murdering a new-born baby found in a waste-paper basket in her room at the convent. Both Agnes and the Mother Superior, Miriam Ruth, maintain that the child was the product of immaculate-conception and that Agnes is an example of an earthly miracle. Dr. Livingstone, however, is an atheist brought up as a Catholic but lapsed in her belief because of life-events. The play follows Martha Livingstone’s investigation of Agnes, culminating in a session of hypnosis that reveals some awful truths.
There are only three parts in this play and the characters in the main will be visible on set all the time. Commitment is vital. The play is harrowing and may not be suitable for actors that have problems confronting issues of Faith especially followers of Catholicism. It doesn’t impugn religion but does question its validity. Please note that none of the characters will smoke.
Martha Livingstone (Psychologist)-Playing age 50-60. A tough talking, disillusioned, court-appointed psychologist tasked with assessing Agnes’ mental state; a hard, cynical woman who is a lapsed Catholic. She is an atheist who challenges the beliefs of the other two characters and resorts to hypnotism to discover the truth. A very challenging role.
Miriam Ruth (Mother Superior) – Playing Age 50 upwards .The Mother Superior (Mother) holds a terrible secret. Attempts to hinder Martha at every turn and tries to convince her that the birth was an immaculate conception. She is a tough, uncompromising woman who will go to any lengths to preserve the integrity of her Faith and does. Her support of Agnes is unwavering but not all that it seems. As cynical as Dr. Livingstone and for very different reasons.
Agnes (Novitiate) – Playing age 21. Agnes is the most complex of the three roles. She has been mentally destroyed by the birth and has formed a solid, psychological barrier that prevents her from seeing the birth as anything but an immaculate conception. She is an ‘innocent’ that has been manipulated by those around her all her life. Her mother tortured her from an early age and kept her from the outside world until sending her to the nunnery. She is a victim with repressed memories and a split personality that come to the fore when she undergoes a series of hypnotism sessions with the doctor. Ideally, but not essentially, the actor for this role should be able to sing.
Rehearsals will be the usual Monday and Thursday evenings from 7.30 pm and some Sunday afternoons from 2.00-6.00 pm by arrangement with the cast. Ideally, all actors will be required at every rehearsal. The play works as a series of flashbacks, scenes and monologues that overlap and blend into each other making it almost impossible to rehearse without everyone. It is also vital to have someone on the book that can be at every rehearsal. This is a very wordy play! Please let us know if you would like to help in a technical way with the production. Copies will be available to borrow from Bygones in Cathedral Square (Mon-Sat 9-30am -5-30pm – except 1pm-2pm on Saturdays.)