REVIEW: Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night (Nuns4Fun)

  
  

A fun evening of parochial flashbacks!

   
 

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Nuns4Fun Entertainment and Vicki Quade present
  
Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night
 
Written and Directed by Vicki Quade
at
Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted (map)
through Dec 24  |  tickets: $30  |  more info

Reviewed by K.D. Hopkins

Sunday was a true Chicago winter day. The snow and cruel wind brought back memories of the 1967 blizzard. It’s what was called ‘the big one’ for a while and we Chicagoans take pride in having survived. A little girl named Kathy Deneen trudged through the snow the day after the blizzard in spite of snow past her pull-over galoshes. Holy Name of Mary School did not have snow days. Memories!  Flash forward to 2010 and a grown up (sometimes) Kathy trudges herself over to the Royal George Theatre through a nasty winter storm. It was a real trip to walk into a perfectly Mother Superior Ho-Ho-Holy Nightreproduced Catholic classroom.

I gawked in amazement at the felt board with both Nativity and secular Christmas appliqués. Virgin Mary’s and Baby Jesus’ abounded. I looked for a scary cloakroom to put my coat and scarcely remembered that I wasn’t wearing pullover galoshes when Lisa Braatz bounded into the classroom. Ms. Braatz is one of the actresses (along with Kathleen Puls Andrade, Michelle Renee Thompson and Andrea Moser) portraying Mother Superior in Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night, produced and directed by Vicki Quade. Whether you are Catholic or not, the show is good, clean, and G-rated fun. In fact, if you are or were raised Catholic like me, it can be a little weird separating the show from real memories.

Ms. Braatz embodies a nun right after Vatican II but still bred in the old catechism. Her character has ramrod posture devoid of any sexuality in her movement. The head- gear and the rosary were in perfect placement. I almost stood up and recited The Act of Contrition for being grumpy about the weather!

Ms. Braatz takes the audience through a stroll down memory lane regarding the saints, martyrs, and of course sin – but only the venial variety. Mother Superior asks names, and if you aren’t named for a saint then you must be a Protestant. ‘What kind of name is Austin?’ she quizzed one young woman who sat with her family of –gasp- former Catholics. She asked if there were any single or widowed women in the classroom and I raised my hand. I got a holy card with Saint Ann who is the patron of single women and widows. My prayer instructions are ‘Saint Ann! Saint Ann! Send me a man as fast as you can!” Yes it’s amusing but tell that to South Siders with saint statues buried in the yard to bring forth a homebuyer.

Mother Superior has all sorts of displays and prizes for correct answers on holy days of obligation, one of which is Christmas. Her spiel on Baby Jesus’ birthday is funny because of the authenticity. I’m pretty sure that even non-Catholics would get the humor and be good sports about not being the ‘one true religion’. She is ecumenical in her references to the Hanukkah Bush and Muslim New Year but that’s where the comparison ends. The class/audience gets a lesson in St. Nicholas that culminates in some amusing pictures of the character as well as real history. The best picture is good old St. Nick and Baby Jesus. It must be a miracle since they were a few centuries apart in existence but you never question Mother Superior.

Mother Superior Lisa BraatzAct 2 of Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night consisted of putting together the Nativity and the secular Christmas to get to the finals and win a trip to Rome where the Pope lives. Our parish of St. Gabriel was sure to win by putting a Santa, a Christmas tree, an elf, and a candy cane or two around the Nativity scene to make it more contemporary. If you have ever taken a walk around some Chicago neighborhoods during the holidays, this will ring true and funny. Ms. Braatz assigns roles to audience members for a wacky time traveling Nativity play. One young woman was given the role of the Virgin and a blue feather boa because the Blessed Mother is always seen in blue. Then five Angel Gabriel’s are cast from the audience and given different readings of the Annunciation (another Holy Day of Obligation by the way). Mother Superior gave one of the few men in the audience the role of Joseph and a Beatnik wig. Everyone was happy to participate and it didn’t involve a smack in the face with a cream pie or on the knuckles with that giant candy cane. I will admit to drawing back a little when Mother Superior picked it up.

In all, I recommend this show for family outings and where to take your relatives from the old neighborhood. That is particularly if you’re from Chicago, where we ask what parish did you grow up in. This show is one of the nuns4fun productions that have been entertaining Chicagoans for years. They take donations for retired nuns who are not covered under the Social Security Act and are now living that vow of poverty without the protection or security afforded to priests.

Put on your galoshes and your sense of humor and get to the Royal George. FYI-the Baltimore Catechism is available online and it would be good to do a little brush up if you want a lovely macramé plastic cross!

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

For show times on Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night call The Royal George Theatre at 312-988-9000 and visit www.nuns4fun.com to get more information on more Mother Superior entertainment. I will let you know how that St. Ann thing works out.

 

 

  
  

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Theater Thursday: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Thursday, December 16

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally

Hubris Productions at the Greenhouse Theater Center 

2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago (map)

frankienjohnnieJoin Hubris Productions at the Greenhouse Theater Center before the show for a holiday wine tasting with a renowned wine expert from "In Grape Company" then stay for the critically acclaimed Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (our review ★★★), after which we will conclude with a second wine tasting (both paired with holiday treats) along with a meet and greet with members of Hubris Productions.

Event begins at 7 p.m.  Show begins at 8 p.m.   Tickets: $30

For reservations call 773.404.7336 and mention "Theater Thursdays."

        
       

Wednesday Wordplay: from Ashe to Updike

 

henry winkler as the fonz - happy days Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
            — Henry Winkler
 
     
  The arts must be considered an essential element of education… They are tools for living life reflectively, joyfully and with the ability to shape the future.
            — Shirley Trusty Corey
 
     
  Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
            — Arthur Ashe
arthur ashe postage stamp
     
  I simply cannot understand the passion that some people have for making themselves thoroughly uncomfortable and then boasting about it afterwards.
            — Patricia Moyes
 
     
Georgia O'Keefe I said to myself, I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down. I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.
            — Georgia O’Keeffe
 
     
  Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
            — Thomas A. Edison
 
     
  Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
            — Bill Gates
young Bill Gates
     
  Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
            — Theodore Roosevelt, September 1913
 
     
John Updike Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
            — John Updike
 
     
  If you’re never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.
            — Julia Sorel
 
     
  If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
            — Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford actress
     
  I like coincidences. They make me wonder about destiny, and whether free will is an illusion or just a matter of perspective. They let me speculate on the idea of some master plan that, from time to time, we’re allowed to see out of the corner of our eye.
            — Chuck Sigars, September 8, 2003
 
     
David Shore House MD Only two things you ignore: things that aren’t important and things you wish weren’t important, and wishing never works.
            — David Shore, House M.D., Not Cancer, 2008
 
     

 

Urban Dictionary

 

Audience Typing

When a person’s typing abilities degrade when they must type in front of others, leading to misspelled words, improper capitalisation and most likely resulting in blushing.  Worse if that other person is an older relative or someone you respect.

Father asks, "Put Manchester United into Google there for me"
Son, "Sure"
Results in – "Manchetser UNited" being typed into Google.