“Saints and sinners, we’re an imperfect lot.”
Nonnie Griffin’s one-woman show Sister Annunciata’s Secret opened last night for a three-performance run at The Annex Theatre, where the audience was taken on the titular character’s journey toward self-forgiveness and redemption.
Before the show started, we were welcomed at the box office, where Alum gal (and Nonnie’s castmate from The Queens) Danielle Capretti was selling copies of Nonnie’s book Showbiz and other addictions (which I purchased and look forward to reading). Shortly after we got settled in the house, a little white dog appeared onstage, wandering about briefly and quietly regarding all the people until it exited up the stage left staircase. Tina McCulloch, who did marketing/publicity for the show later learned that the dog was a pal of one of the Randolph Academy folks, coming out to see who was in his theatre. He reminded me of Finn, Mat Howard’s dog, who became a mascot for Nonnie and the rest of The Queens cast last season at Alum.
Director Darlene Spencer introduced the play and reminded us to turn off devices – and off we went. Light and sacred music enveloped the space, the beautiful set by Trevor Haldane and lighting/sound design by Mason Coulter. A three-panelled stained glass window frame separated two playing areas, and worked with the lighting plot to create windows of shadow and light on the wall behind. Sacred and classical music created a biographical soundtrack for Sister Annunciata’s life as she was thrown into turmoil by a desire she didn’t understand and struggled to forgive herself.
In the title role, Nonnie shone as Sister Annunciata (birth name Rosemary), and drew out with humour and empathy all the characters in her life, from the roommate and female psychiatrist who helped her return to herself, to the boy she loved all those years ago and the brother she feared would disown her if she told him her secret.
There are two more performances: tonight and tomorrow afternoon – so you’d better nip along smartly.