Attleboro Community Theatre's first show of their 50th Season is"Catholic School Girls". The show originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1982. It tells the story of four Catholic schoolgirls coming of age from 1962 to 1970 at St. George's School in Yonkers, NY. It spans eight years of their lives, from the first day of first grade to the last day of eighth grade. They grow older during the episodic course of the show. The scenes generally take place in the classroom, where the mostly strict nuns who are also played by the same four actresses, chide and lecture sinisterly about sin. There are also comic as well as moving monologues from each of the girls that delve more deeply into their lives. This splendid production is well directed by Bert Cayer who chooses the four best actresses for each of these double roles, giving the audience a look back at the turbulent 1960's through the eyes of these girls.
The time periods covered in the show include first grade, second grade and first holy Communion, fourth grade, sixth grade, eighth grade and the Spring flowers dance and the last day of eighth grade. These four actresses make the transition from schoolgirl to teacher with ease. Karen Gibson as the faith-fleeing Elizabeth, Lisa Forsgard as the bossy Colleen, Judith Eustace as the smart and spoiled Polish, Wanda, and Kim Alessandro as the not too bright and timid Italian, Maria Theresa are all excellent in these roles. They all shine in their monologues with Karen having 3 separate ones, the first explaining how to bow your head when you say Jesus, the second where she is angry with God for her grandmother's death and renounces her Catholic religion and the last where she looks back on her school days. She handles the different tone of each of them with ease as do the others. Judith's monologue is about becoming famous and appearing on Ed Sullivan, Kim's is about being adopted by Donna Reed and Lisa's is about getting her "friend" in sixth grade and being embarrassed by her mean nun. These performers also handle the teacher roles wonderfully, too. Karen also plays the strict Sister Thomasina in fourth grade, while Kim is Sister Germaine in sixth who is concerned with the girl's health class. The seemingly ancient and addled Sister Agnes is played by Judith who finally helps Elizabeth in the eighth grade while Lisa is hilarious as the most vicious of the nuns, Sister Lucille. She runs roughshod over the girls in the second grade and appears as their eighth grade teacher to torture them again. Lisa's Irish brogue is perfect and her demeaning of the girls is, too. So for a trip back to the 1960's with music from the era played before the show and during each of the scene changes, be sure to catch "Catholic School Girls" in Attleboro.