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Interactive Theater And A Bossy Nun

Sister Mary Ignatius delighted audiences with its over-the-top satire.

The Nyack Village Theatre features more of a guerrilla-style approach to show business—rather than putting on the big-name plays, the community theater works to bring in and produce works from local writers, or lesser known plays.

And the theater's Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You—which recently ended its month long run—is a prime example. Originally produced in the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York City in 1979, Sister Mary aims at interacting with the audience; the idea is for the viewers to feel as though they're students sitting in front of Sister Mary for a catholic lecture.

And plenty of students showed up. The small, intimate theater's 49 seats were sold out for the Aug. 21st showing of the controversial play penned by Christopher Durang.

The cast started auditions in June and met four to five times a week to perfect their charisma, a grueling practice plan that ultimately paid off.

Satire is the major thread throughout: the play begins with Sister Mary reading a list of who is going to hell—named peoples include Oprah, Lindsay Lohan, Siegfried and Roy, the Jersey shore cast, Nyack, New York City and Amsterdam.

(The inhabitants of these cities will eventually have body lice and hepatitis, she adds).

If you were confused, don't worry—so were characters in the play.

"I understand, or rather I understand that I'm not supposed to understand," says naive character Alice.

The one-act play rises to a conflict as four of Sister Mary's former students enter stage right. In response to their life choices—they are an unmarried mother, a gay male, a woman who has had two abortions and an alcoholic—Sister Mary deems them all obsessed with sex, and takes matters in to her own hands with over-the-top violence.

Audience members noted they had a hoot—particularly those who could relate.

"They did a great job touching on all of the traits my catholic friends complain about," said Mimi Hoffman, 63, from South Nyack.

"[My husband] is a recovering catholic," joked Katheleen Davies, 64, who travelled from Hillburn to catch the play. "I find it funny," she added.

The Nyack Village Theatre is located at 94 Main Street in Nyack. For more information, call (845) 826-2639, or visit their website for a schedule of events. 

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