Share This Page

Theatre Factory looks at faith, failings with 'Agnes of God'

Three local actresses tackle three demanding roles in "Agnes of God," Theatre Factory's production of the powerful Broadway play, which was later turned into a movie.

Laura Wurzell of Delmont is the psychiatrist, Linda Stayer of Murrysville is Mother Superior and Deborah Bender of Pitcairn is Sister Agnes in the 1982 John Pielmeier drama. Professional productions have featured some heavy-hitters in the three-member cast, especially the 1985 movie version that starred Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly.

Ron Ferrara of Vandergrift directs the Theatre Factory production and says that Wurzell, Stayer and Bender have approached each rehearsal "as a collective experience."

"These rehearsals have been both physically and emotionally exhausting. They work extremely well together and use their individual talents to truly become the characters they are playing," he says.

Wurzell says that she has developed friendships with Stayer and Bender as a result of the play, and "we feel very comfortable with each other. We spend as much time as possible talking about our characters."

The plot revolves around Sister Agnes, a young nun who is accused of murdering her newborn baby that she insists was the result of a virgin conception. A psychiatrist and the convent's Mother Superior are involved in the investigation. The drama is widely believed to be based on an actual incident that occurred in a convent in Brighton, N.Y.

Ferrara says the issues raised by the drama are as relevant today as when the play was written.

"The possibility of a miracle, the eternal conflict between faith and science, the debate over religion's place in society, and any discussion of sex and a murder pique our interest and therefore remain relevant," he says.

"Agnes of God" explores the classic conflict between science and faith "by examining all the gray areas in between," Stayer says. "It will challenge you and make you think. The intelligent, sharply constructed dialogue will hopefully keep the audience thoroughly engaged in these characters as they progress toward the inevitable outcome."

Bender says she recommends the drama to theatergoers because it is not a typical play. "It is very deep on many levels. You will be truly touched in one way or another when you leave this show," she says.

Additional Information:

'Agnes of God'

When: Friday-Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Nov. 7 and 14

Where: Theatre Factory, Cavitt Ave. & Third St., Trafford

Admission: $16; $14 for seniors; all seats $13 on 'Thirteen Thursday'

Details: 412-374-9200 or website

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.