Having a laugh during pandemic, Catholic-style

  • Bad habits: Denise Fennel, left, and Maripat Donovan are to host Late Nite Catechism to raise funds for Mount Saint Agnes (Photograph supplied)

    Bad habits: Denise Fennel, left, and Maripat Donovan are to host Late Nite Catechism to raise funds for Mount Saint Agnes (Photograph supplied)


A comedy special about a nun who teaches at a Catholic school starring two American comedians will help raise funds for a private school’s emergency bursary fund.

Denise Fennel said that she was honoured to share the spotlight tonight with Maripat Donovan, the creator of Late Nite Catechism, for a virtual showing of the play, created in 1993 and centred on a fictional nun.

Ms Fennel added: “This really is special for us — this is the first time that Maripat has appeared with any other ‘nun’ so it’s a huge honour.

“The two of us are having the time of our lives and we can hardly wait to do it.”

The California-based comedians will star in the show, first performed as a solo effort 27 years ago as part of a fundraiser for Mount Saint Agnes Academy.

The funds from online ticket sales will go towards an emergency bursary scheme for pupils whose parents cannot afford MSA school fees.

Ms Fennel said that the two were at first invited to perform the show live in Bermuda on May 1, but had to rethink their plans because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added: “When we heard about what was happening and you guys weren’t going to be able to have the fundraiser, I called Maripat and we had a discussion about how we could make this experience virtual.

“We had the whole original production team of Late Nite Catechism pulling this thing together and it’s been such a ball.”

Late Nite Catechism is based on stereotypes and typical Catholic school classroom experiences.

The play is interactive and involves audience participation and some unscripted responses to the audience.

Late Nite Catechism has been performed across the United States since 1993.

Ms Donovan said that the show was inspired by her Catholic education in Chicago.

Ms Fennel added: “What we’re trying to achieve here is to reconnect with people.

“That’s what religious sisters did — they came into a community, they connected the community and they all worked together for one cause, which is to make life better for everybody else, for nothing in return.”

A spokeswoman for MSA said that the school hoped to sell up to 250 tickets for the show.

She added that the fundraiser was needed because many families may not be able to afford to send their children back to the school because of the economic havoc wreaked by the pandemic.

• Late Nite Catechism will premiere tonight at 7pm. Tickets are $29 at https://cof.page.link/o3i6 and buyers will be given a Zoom link to watch the show

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Published May 30, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated May 30, 2020 at 8:03 am)

Having a laugh during pandemic, Catholic-style

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