The next stop down the line of discovering just what happened to those poor unfortunate Little Sisters of Riverdale, in the TheatreBloom exclusive interview series (a part of Imaginative Interviews featuring characters from musicals and plays) is with an unusual nun, Sister Mary Amnesia, a very special sister who just can’t remember who she really is.
Thank you, Sister, for taking a brief moment out of your rehearsal for the talent show to sit down and speak with us. We’re trying to raise awareness about the show so that people will come and see it. Remind me again, who you are?
Sister Mary Amnesia: I’m Sister Mary Amnesia. I think. Yes, that’s right. Sister Mary Amnesia. With the Little Sisters of Riverdale.
Can you tell us a little about this charity event?
Sister Amnesia: I’ll try. Some of our sisters had a little accident with food poisoning. We’re trying to raise money so we can bury them!
Bury them? What do you mean bury them?
Sister Amnesia: Oh, we ran out of money.
You ran out of money? What do you mean?
Sister Amnesia: Well, there was the accident with the food poisoning, they died, we buried them, but not all of them. We ran out of money, like I said— I think I said— and that was a little delayed due to Reverend Mother purchasing a plasma TV.
A plasma TV? I didn’t think nuns watched TV.
Sister Amnesia: Nor did I. I guess it was for the students mostly. Because we teach.
Oh right, you guys have a school. What do you do with the school and the students?
Sister Amnesia: Well, we teach classes, and we teach the students how to respect each other— and— and…and remind them who they are…but, you see, I have that problem myself, so I guess I shouldn’t be teaching that class!
Reverend Mother did say you don’t remember things about yourself. You don’t remember anything about who you are?
Sister Amnesia: Nada. Not a thing. I just showed up here one day at Little Sisters of Riverdale. They took me in. It’s the only memory I have, being a nun. I get along with the other sisters alright, especially Sister Hubert and Sister Leo. Reverend Mother she gets upset with me most of the times but she’s very understanding of my condition. She’s always asking me to pray to Saint Dymphna. She’s the patron Saint of mental disorders, I pray to her to help with my condition.
Maybe you should pray to Saint Anthony, the patron Saint of lost things.
Sister Amnesia: Oh my! I’d never thought about that! Or maybe I had but don’t remember. He might be able to help me find my memory since it’s lost!
That sounds like a plan. Now, if you were doing something other than being a nun what do you think you’d like to be doing out there in the real world?
Sister Amnesia: I’m not really sure. Here in the convent I like to play with my puppet. Sister Mary Annette. She’s a bit of a pain in the Catoose, but I have to respect her. Even if she doesn’t respect me much. I was raised to respect everyone.
Now are you and Sister Marionette, sorry Sister Mary Annette, performing in the talent show?
Sister Amnesia: Oh yes! She and I are doing a duet! It’s about what being a nun means to me and all the requirements of being a nun.
What does being a nun mean to you, Sister?
Sister Amnesia: What it means to me? Making a difference in the world. Also to follow under the guidelines— the actual ones, not the loose guidelines that Mary Annette has. I shouldn’t say loose. She’s not loose. But she has an attitude toward the guidelines. Oh! Oh! Oh! I just remembered something! Sorry, didn’t meant to break away from your question, but I remembered something! I like country music!
Sister Amnesia: Yes. Wait. I know I like it. But I don’t remember why.
Are you allowed to listen to country music here in the convent?
Sister Amnesia: Well, we’re not allowed to listen to Toby Keith, or Shania Twain. Or Willie for that matter. You know, for obvious reasons!
Got it, no modern country music. Maybe Johnny Cash?
Sister Amnesia: Oh! No! He’s forbidden for me! You know Mother Superior is old fashioned. Even though he sings all those lovely gospel songs he did a lot of those bad drugs. So I can’t listen to him either. I have a restricted list, you see. That way when I’m listening to my country music I remember who I am as a nun and follow my vows.
Do you follow all your vows?
Sister Amnesia: Mostly. Unless I don’t remember them.
What do you do to help you remember things?
Sister Amnesia: I try making lists, but I always forget where they are. But I do remember to make those lists. So that’s a start. They don’t let me do much around the convent because I forget so much. I can’t drive the car, I would forget to put it in park. And I don’t get to cook, because I’d forget which ingredients go in the recipes. Though after what happened with Sister Julia— Child of God— well, oh but anyway… I just forget too many things to really be useful. This one time? I actually put the turkey in to cook. But I forgot to de-feather it. And I didn’t put it in the oven. I put it in the cupboard. That was Thanksgiving last year. You should see what I did with the stuffing. It ended up in the confessional, I thought it had something to pray about because there’s just so much in it.
I know you guys are raising money to help bury the nuns. I know Reverend Mother told me if you raise more than enough to bury the nuns you’re going to be giving the extra money to some charities. The Men Against Breast Cancer and Bountiful Blessings, what do you think about those charities.
Sister Amnesia: Well, I know my family well, if I could remember my family, but I would want to help people with Breast Cancer. It’s definitely a good cause and I think my family would want to support that. I know Brigid K Lally is a very strong supporter of that particular charity.
Who is Brigid K Lally?
Sister Amnesia: She’s the musical theatre lady that was assigned to help me for the talent show. See? I wrote it down. Reverend Mother said you were going to ask about the nice actor people that have been coming to the convent to help us prepare for this show.
Oh, yes. She did mention that. What has it been like working with Miss Brigid K. Lally?
Sister Amnesia: Well, she’s quite competitive. She had a lot of training in musical theatre, and with the classics, which she keeps repeatedly telling me about. And she thinks she’s always right because she studied at the opera program up in Baltimore. It wasn’t Peabody, it was a summer program she did at Morgan State. But she really wants me to do well, especially on those high notes I have to hit. Oh goodness, she pushes me hard! But I think she really just wants me to succeed.
Are you and Brigid similar?
Sister Amnesia: Well, other than the memory? She’s very down to earth. She’s a bit Bohemian.
Do you think Brigid would make a good nun?
Sister Amnesia: Oh heavens no! She’s too much of a free spirit.
Did Brigid give you any words of advice before taking to the stage?
Sister Amnesia: Yes. “Don’t screw up!” Oh, and “Don’t forget!” But I’m going to have that problem regardless. She’s a pain in my Catoose!
You seem to have a lot of pains in your Catoose, you should see someone about that.
Sister Amnesia: Yes, I should. Right after I see someone about my memory.
Speaking of memory, you mentioned remembering all your vows. Do you have a favorite vow?
Sister Amnesia: Oh…well? I never forget about Chastity. I never had that problem, well not that I recall. Obedience is my ringer since I follow Hubert wherever she goes. I always do what I’m supposed to. When I remember.
If you had something to say to all the people out there to get them interested in coming to see the musical talent show that you nuns are putting on, what would you say?
Sister Amnesia: Um? Let’s see here. What are we talking about again? I’m sorry. I forgot.
We’re trying to generate interest for people to come and see the show?
Sister Amnesia: Oh! That’s right! Tell them there’s a Muppet in the show. Or a puppet. Whatever you people call them these days. And a couple of risqué numbers as well. Involving— oh, I shouldn’t tell you this! But Sister Leo does something risqué! Let’s just say her dance attire is not convent appropriate!
Speaking of convent appropriate, you sisters still wear habits. Do you like wearing the habit?
Sister Amnesia: Oh yes! I don’t have to worry about whether or not I remembered to do my hair that morning. I just get to cover it up. It’s much easier than trying to remember how to do a bun.
How do you remember to put on your habit every morning?
Sister Amnesia: Oh Mother Superior and I have been over this many times. You see when I first came to the convent, I had a few problems walking outside of my room. To go to the shower. I thought I had clothes on. Fortunately the bishops weren’t there that day! You know, I’ve got to tell you another secret! That photo that they’re using on the posters to promote this show? That was from that day! Me going to the shower thinking I had clothes on but I forgot! Isn’t that funny?
Oh my! Well, Sister Amnesia, that’s all we have time for today, but thank you so much for contributing to the promotion of your show! I hope you get your memory back.
Sister Amnesia: Oh thank you! I hope so too! Same to you— wait. Who are you? I don’t remember why we’re here…
Nunsense plays through April 19, 2015 at Wolf Pack Theatre Company playing at the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church— 5820 Riverdale Road in Riverdale, MD. For tickets call (240) 271-5471 or purchase them online.