WESTERLY – The Granite Theatre is beginning its 13th season Friday with a production of “Catholic School Girls.”
According to David Jepson, producer and artistic director, “Catholic School Girls” is a memory play about four women in their 30s who are remembering their Catholic school upbringing.
The play begins when the girls are in first grade and progresses through their education. At various times, the girls step into the role of one of the sisters and continue to go back and forth in that manner, playing themselves and their former teachers.
A satire of Catholic school life in the 1960s set at St. George’s School in Yonkers, N.Y., the play follows the women as they experience bonds of friendship, reprimands from authority figures and pressure from home.
The show features four actresses, Danielle Conti, of Westerly, Katerina Alexakos, of Wakefield, Anna Armagno, of Colchester, Conn., and Kathleen Seagriff of Providence.
“The chemistry that all four girls share is great,” Conti said. “We’re pretty much always in character even when we’re not rehearsing. It’s really fun playing a little kid and we’re just like little kids with each other.”
The play also references iconic figures and happenings in the time frame, including the Beatles, the Addams Family, the Supremes, the space race, the Cold War and the election of a Catholic president, as the girls mature to adolescence.
Jepson said this is the first time the show is being produced at the Granite Theatre, but he has produced it twice before in his Pawtucket theater.
“It’s a very popular show,” he said. “It should be especially popular in Westerly where there’s a very large Catholic population, although one doesn’t need to be Catholic to enjoy the show.”
Conti affirmed that viewers of all backgrounds can appreciate the show.
“Everything that I’ve heard from people who have seen the show and come into rehearsal they say that it’s exactly what they remember from Catholic school,” she said. “I’m excited to see how [viewers] react because this whole play is a memory, so it’s not happening in real time, so I’m excited to see how it turns out.”
Conti, who holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., said the most difficult part for her is portraying the changes that her character goes through.
“My character goes through such a change from beginning of the show to the end,” she said. “Just finding that balance. She asks a lot of questions [of her faith] and you don’t even have to be Catholic to like the show, if you believe in something so strong and you question your beliefs, you understand that.”
If you go:
“Catholic School Girls” opens 8 p.m. Friday, March 8, at The Granite Theatre, 1 Granite St., Westerly. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through March 30. It also runs Thursday, March 21 and March 28 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 10, 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for children under 12. Season subscriptions are available until the final performance of “Catholic School Girls” on March 30.
For tickets, contact the box office at 401-596-2341. For more information on “Catholic School Girls” or other upcoming shows, visit www.granitetheatre.com .