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Transitions and tribulations

Perry-Mansfield students express difficult subjects

What: "Agnes of God" and "Hymn to Her"

When: 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Saturday for "Agnes of God"; 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday for "Hymn to Her"

Where: Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, Julie Harris Theater

Cost: $12 for adults, $10 for ages 10 and younger

Call: 879-7125

— The cast of the musical revue “Hymn to Her” calls John Tedeschi, its writer and director, an “honorary girl.”

“I’m learning a lot about what it feels like for girls growing up,” Tedeschi said. “It’s a learning experience turned into a great musical revue.”

“Hymm to Her” is a celebration of the transition from girlhood to womanhood. It features 11 girls and women who are students at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. There are no monologues or dialogues in the revue — only songs.



“I’ve compiled songs that weave through various phases of life and experiences,” Tedeschi said. “It’s about love, the first time you put on mascara and heels, and when your friend tries to steal your boyfriend. It’s about women.”

The music will span the years 1920 to 2004.



“It includes songs from musical theater to Madonna to Britney Spears to Steven Schwartz,” Tedeschi said. “In the choreography, I tried to use different styles from the different time periods and different styles of dance to express things.”

The musical revue covers timeless lessons, experiences and expectations that are universal to all girls and women.

“It’s a great experience to get all different styles and stories and put them together,” Tedeschi said.

The play “Agnes of God,” which similarly deals with a range of controversial and life-changing issues, also will be presented this weekend at Perry-Mansfield.

“It’s about a nun who has been charged with the murder of her newborn baby, which was found stuffed in the garbage,” play director Kaia Monroe said.

The nun says she doesn’t remember the incident, and no one can determine the identity of the baby’s father. The play examines the spiritual mysteries surrounding the nun and the various rational reasons that could explain her predicament.

Three students will perform the play in a 1 1/2-hour act with no intermission.

“That’s very challenging for a young actor,” Monroe said. “It’s even a lot for an older actor.”

The biggest challenge for the students, besides memorizing the text, was the subject matter.

“We had to study up on Catholicism, because none of us are Catholic,” Monroe said. “And we have to treat the subject matter with integrity.

“They had to learn about mental disturbances and go way in-depth on the debate between science and religion,” Monroe said. “They have an incredible emotional range and intellectual challenge with the subject matter.”

Monroe realized that the subject of the play sounds heavy and down, but she finds beauty in it.

“You end up loving all of the characters,” she said.

— To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com


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