By Sheri Berger
Drinking Habits by Tom Smith, Olde Glory Theatre, June 7, 2023
What could be more religious than confession, shame, paranoia, judgement, strict rules, and concealing things? Drinking Habits, is a fun farcical show, and the talented cast at the Olde Glory Theatre brought this crazy script to life. Everyone will be able to have a night of enjoyable laughter. All of the characters are well-intended and it’s their best faults that make them hilariously parodied.
The Sisters of Perpetual Sewing Convent is small, only made up of a few people, and the two Sisters, Philamena and Augusta, have not only been perpetually sewing, they have been making ends meet for years by selling wine to the local town-folk, all behind the back of their Mother Superior who is anomalously against drinking and refers to it as “Satan’s Mouthwash.” Mother Superior is expecting someone at the Vatican in Rome to send out someone to the smaller Convents, because they want to close them to save money and Mother Superior is gravely worried.
Add to it that there are two reporters, formerly engaged, hot on the trail of the cover-up, and who show up at the Convent posing as clergy, investigating the selling of the wine, just as Sister Mary Catherine has arrived from the Vatican.
There are twists and turns, too many to explain, and the characters find they are connected in ways they didn’t realize. There are times when all characters are present on stage, and the stories and situations converge to a high point. Add to that, each time the bell of the chapel rings, everyone must remain silent and it suddenly becomes silent pantomime.
Sister Philamena was well-played by Megan Boggs, is a nervous nun who will nervously sing a high note rather than tell a lie. Sister Augusta, played by Angela Kaspar, is a more matter-of-fact bossy nun. Both of these actors made a great comedy duo and played off of each other well.
Mother Superior is played by Erin Weides, skillfully delivers her pragmatic and no-nonsense attitude. Justin Baldinger was perfect for the role of the quirky magic-loving Father Chenille. Mary Catherine played by Holly Venetis, and her love interest, Camden Baldassono, who played the Groundskeeper, George, had great chemistry together.
Michelle Hernandez was cast as Sally, one of the reporters who showed just the right amount of feminist determination. Her character, Sally, finally opened up her heart not just to the plight of the Convent, but also to her co-worker, Paul, played by Broderick Schofield. Broderick had a heavy-lift of having to play several characters in this production, and his delivery was believable, easy to watch, and brought depth to each of his characters.
The Director of this play, Rory Nolan, is a talented young Director that has graced the stage of the Olde Glory for some time. He put together an adept cast, who had great comedic timing and delivery, and the entire team kept the energy up for the constant organized chaos of this play. Mr. Nolan’s choice of set design was charming and nicely done, and worked well with the functionality of the mayhem. Megan Boggs served as Assistant Director (as well as Sister Philamena). Costumes were done by JoAnn Boshart, Denise Christiansen and the rest of the Cast. The Set and Props were assembled by Denise Christensen, Zeb Barta, Philip Dani, Janis Luebe, Bob Boshart, and Bill Edwards. The Technical Assistant was Dalton Mobley.
This was a high energy, laugh-out-loud play, and seeing it with a full house was a nice experience. The entire cast played off the reactions of the crowd and the positive flow of energy was kept up throughout the play. This play humorized the negative emotions and conundrums of the religious experience, emphasized what we keep from others in order to preserve what we believe is a greater good, and how we react when faced with a choice that will give us the desired means to an end. However, truth and openness prevail it the final Act of this farcical play, which is full of hilarious and zany loops and turns, yet everyone will leave feeling satisfied after such a nice laugh!
The Olde Glory Theatre is a charming restored church, built in 1872. The Theatre is a thriving bustle of volunteers and energy, and will a host a fundraiser, the Missoula Childrens Theatre Workshop and a Christmas show and events yet this year.
Drinking Habits by Tom Smith is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.
If you go: Performances are June 8th , 9th and 10th at 7:15PM (doors open at 6:30PM) and June 11th at 2PM (doors open at 1:00PM). Concessions are available on the Wednesday and Thursday productions. Friday and Saturday productions offer a dinner option, if tickets purchased before June 6th, which is a Beef Brisket Sandwich, sides and dessert. And the Sunday production offers Desserts. For Tickets call 402-304-5392 or go to www.OldeGlorySewardNE.com.
Sheri Berger is a business minion, dog momma, arts groupie, and co-host of the Platte River Bard Podcast with her husband, Chris Berger.
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