Late Nite Catechism heads to LondonDate: 23 November 1998
Late Nite Catechism, the cult interactive comedy show by Maripat Donovan and Vicki Quade that was first seen at Chicago's Live Bait Theatre in 1993 and has since been seen in New York (where it continues to play at St Luke's Church on West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues), Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Sydney and Melbourne, is now coming to London.
It will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, a tiny (80-seater) fringe venue located in the basement of a pasta restaurant just behind Piccadilly Circus in the heart of London's West End, for a 12 week season from December 2 to February 20, 1999. Maripat Donovan, who created the role of Sister and co-wrote the show, will re-create her performance for the show's London premiere. In it, she plays a nun who teaches an adult catechism class to a roomful of students, made up of the audience: during the course of the show, she progresses from benevolent instructor, rewarding the 'students' for correct answers with glow-in-the-dark rosaries, to an authoritative drill sergeant. In an interview, she has been quoted as saying, 'When I go to work every day, I never know what's going to happen. It's a crapshoot filled with excitement and terror. My job is to play with the audience, click with them and pick up their cues. I am in charge. I am responsible for the experience the audience takes home with them'. In another interview, she said, 'The best show I ever did was for 250 nuns - Sisters of St Agnes - at their mother house in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and the average age was 67-years-old. After that, I knew what it was like to be Elvis Presley, because they were jumping up and down in their seats and squealing in delight.'
Maripat Donovan, who was born in 1954, was raised in a strict Irish Catholic household and attended a Catholic grammar school. After high school in Chicago and Loyola University, she opened her own construction company in 1979 to renovate houses in Illinois and in Michigan and has since designed and built the set for many productions of the show. She says, 'For me, performing in this show is a dream come true. What actor would deny that being the star of a one-person show is the greatest thrill?'