HAIL MARY and Hail Montgomery Theater

by Walter Bender

HAIL MARY, the latest production at Montgomery Theater, is about a plucky novice who is in a constant battle of wills with her old-school Mother Superior. In defiance of Mother Superior, Mary teaches the children at the Catholic school where she is an instructor about her personal (somewhat unorthodox) views of God and the Church. Add in the father of one of her students who turns out to be a long-lost love, a somewhat-addled priest, and a Hispanic nun who also teaches at the school and it’s quite the recipe for an evening of laughter.

Sarah Gliko portrays the title character. Her Mary is devout, intense, and very passionate in her beliefs. The conversations with Mother Regina Marie (Cynthia Raff) are intense, and also at times quite funny. Ms. Raff is wonderful as Mother Regina…her character is devoutly old-school, yet with a dry wit that (for me) stole the show. Mary’s friend, confidante and co-worker Sister Felicia (Rebecca Miglionico) wants very much to understand Mary’s wild ideas, yet also fears Mother Regina’s wrath. Joe Syzarczek (Bob McDonald) is the father of one of Mary’s students who happens to be Mother Regina’s nephew. Robert Bauer rounds out the cast as Father Stanley, the priest who deems Mary the savior of Catholicism.

The production weaves a very interesting discussion of old school religion vs. new ideas with a lot of humor, a love story (or is it?), and wonderful interplay among the characters. Director Thomas Quinn keeps things moving briskly, not allowing the cast or audience to lose focus on the storyline. The set is functional (depicting a third-grade classroom) allowing for some running gags with the adults being forced to sit in the students’ seating. Lighting and sound were (as always in this theater) excellent, bringing an added dimension to the production.

by Tom Dudzick
Directed by Thomas Quinn
April 14 – May 7, 2011
Montgomery Theater
124 North Main Street
Souderton, PA 18964

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