BY Mark Quinn, the Insightful Pontificator
When I first saw "Late Nite Catechism" years ago, I did so reluctantly, at the behest (insistence, really) of some friends. I thought "Oh, no. Another one of these addle-brained 'comedies' in which the sisters are made the butt of inane jokes about their imagined narrow-mindedness, stupidity, or sadism." I, for one, love the Springfield Dominicans who educated me many years ago at St. Walter on the south side of Chicago. They were terrific educators who followed the Lord and did their best to extend His love and concern to their charges. They worked us hard and demanded a lot…and we thank them for it. So I have little tolerance for poseurs and inane cheap shot artists who, having known little of the Catholic education they so ridicule, make these wonderful, holy women the targets of thoughtless, brainless "humor."
But "Late Nite Catechism" took me by complete surprise. Ms. Quade's production was flawless. Yes, it was, to use too weak a word, funny…in fact, it was tears of laughter streaming out of the eyes, nearly falling out of one's chair hysterical. Yet, at the same time, it was respectful of the work of the sisters and the love they have for God, for the Church, and for their youthful charges. In fact, Ms. Quade donates a portion of the proceeds of each show to religious orders to help the sisters as they struggle with the financial challenges born of lots of older sisters, few younger sisters, and very little coming in to support even their spartan existences.
After "Late Nite Catechism," my wife and I became huge Vicki Quade fans. We've seen
"Put the Nuns in Charge," "Sunday School Cinema," and "Mother Superior's Ho-Ho-Holy Night." So we always eagerly anticipate the next production to emerge from the cauldron of creativity that is Ms. Quade's mind. We were therefore delighted to learn that "Movie Bingo: Good, Bad, or Condemned?" would be coming to one of our local parishes, St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville. Our anticipation and excitement were mixed with a touch of concern, however; could Ms. Quade possibly keep up the standard of excellence, hilarity, and poignancy that has been set by her earlier productions?
Our concern was misplaced. "Movie Bingo: Good, Bad, or Condemned?" meets or exceeds the "Quade standard" set by her earlier productions, and especially by "Late Nite Catechism." The show is hysterical, engaging, thought provoking, and brain challenging. It probably is skewed more toward outright hilarity, and less toward the profundity that always finds it way into her productions. But the increased laughs detract not at all from the show; I suspect most people would find "Movie Bingo's" heightened emphasis on generating a good belly laugh a plus.
While I wish that Ms. Quade would have worn her usual habit and played a sister in the show, I understand her appearing as a lay person (substituting for the absent priest, of course, just as "Sister" did in her previous productions!). The Church is changing; younger members of the Church, and of Ms. Quade's audience, probably have never seen a sister in her habit. And we "older" Catholics, who've lived "Late Nite Catechism" and its fellow Quade creations lose nothing by Ms. Quade's appearing as a lay person in "Movie Bingo." Still…next time, Ms. Quade…PLEASE bring Sister back!
Congratulations to Vicki Quade on another hit that should have them rolling in the aisles…again. And this from someone who literally did roll in the aisles in sixth grade at St. Walter in response to a joke told by my buddy Mike Graber…and incurred the wrath of Sister Agnes for doing so!
And thank you, Ms. Quade, for all you do for the sisters who have done so much for us.
For more information on "Movie Bingo: Good, Bad, or Condemned?", please go to www.moviebingo.info and for her own shows, go to www.Nuns4fun.com. One of Ms. Quade's mottos is "Have nun, will travel" and another is "Have fun, will travel." She puts on these shows in venues across the nation.
-- Mark Quinn, the Insightful Pontificator