The Stage Company presents Agnes of God

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Date(s) - 02/09/2018 - 02/11/2018
7:30 pm

The Stage Company


The Stage Company announces its first production of 2018, Agnes of God,  a classic, searing drama that presents the three main characters and the audience with an intense exploration of the nature, depth and meaning of faith, all in service to a dark investigation into the birth and death of an infant.

Summoned to a convent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a novice accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determinedly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone’s suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the tiny victim? Livingstone’s questions force all three women to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love leading to a dramatic, compelling climax.

For further information regarding the production, please contact Kevin Purcell (Director) at

Performance dates: February 9-11 & 15-18

Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm

Sundays at 2:00 pm

Tickets $15/Students $8

All tickets  are $7 on Thursday, February 15.

The box office will be open from 5-7 p.m. from February

5-10 and at 1 p.m. on February 11.  The box office will again be open from 5-7 p.m. February 14-17 and at 1 p.m. on February 18. Call (618) 549-5466 to purchase tickets or you can buy tickets any time by visiting


About the play:

Questions & Answers, from Director Kevin Purcell

Q: How did the playwright, John Pielmeier, create Agnes of God?
A: Here he is telling the story in his own words.
“I had been writing for several years, not taking it seriously and supporting myself by my acting work, when I got an acting job at the 1977 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference. I returned to New York City determined to go back to the O’Neill as a playwright. I wrote a play which made the semi-finals but not the final cut for the summer of ’78, and during that summer I did most of the initial work on Agnes. For a good while I had been looking for an idea upon which to hang a play about questions of faith – looking, essentially, for a plot clothesline. About a year earlier I had seen a headline in the Post or the News shouting “Nun Kills Baby!” I didn’t read the actual story, but something like nine months later I woke up in the middle of the night with an “Aha!” moment.

Ken Waissman produced the play, opening it at the Music Box Theatre on March 31, 1982. It received rather mixed reviews (I have never been a darling of the critics, to put it mildly) but word-of-mouth spread, and once Amanda Plummer won a Tony for her performance, its future was assured”(from

Q: In addition to Tony award winning Amanda Plummer, who else was in the original Broadway cast?
A: Geraldine Page, who in 1986 won an Academy Award for the film Trip to Bountiful, played Mother Miriam Ruth, and Elizabeth Ashley.

Thirty years ago, Kevin Purcell directed this play in Springfield, Illinois. Kevin said “audiences loved this play so much” and he is very excited to bring the play to our audiences.


About the writer:  John Pielmeier began his career as an actor, working at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights’ Conference, and several other stages. It was at the O’Neill that his play Agnes of God was first staged. A co-winner of the Great American Play contest, Agnes premiered professionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and eventually had a seventeen month run on Broadway. Some of his other plays include Voices in the Dark, winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best Play; Haunted Lives; Courage, a one-man show about J.M. Barrie and also produced for public television; The Boys of Winter; Sleight of Hand; Jass; and Impassioned Embraces. Pielmeier’s latest play is a stage adaptation of The Exorcist.

For Choices of the Heart, a television movie Pielmeier wrote about the slain American missionaries in El Salvador, he received a Christopher Award, the Humanitas Award, a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Teleplay, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

Pielmeier has written many other movies for television, including Sins of the Father (also nominated for the Humanitas Award and a Writers Guild of America Award); Happy Face MurdersThe Stranger WithinThe Last P.O.W.: The Bobby Garwood StoryThe Shell Seekers; Through the Eyes of a Killer; Submerged; Original Sins; We Are Circus, an episode of Showtime’s series on the rescue efforts of Righteous Gentiles during the Holocaust; a new adaptation of Flowers for AlgernonLiving with the Dead; Hitler: The Rise of Evil (Emmy nomination, Best Miniseries); and a new adaptation of Sybil.

His adaptation of Gifted Hands, the autobiography of Doctor Ben Carson, was named one of the top ten movies of the year by Movieguide, and won three Image Awards (for Outstanding Actor, Actress, and TV movie) and the prestigious Camie Award. Pielmeier’s adaptation of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth received three Golden Globe nominations, garnered him his fifth nomination for a Writers Guild Award, and an Emmy nomination for Best Miniseries. His eight-hour adaptation of World Without End, Ken Follett’s sequel to Pillars, premiered in the autumn of 2012.

In the film industry, Pielmeier also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Agnes of God.

About the director:

For the past 44 years Kevin has been an actor and director in Illinois and Washington state. Kevin was co-founder of Seattle Public Theater and also Over the Moon Productions (Springfield, IL). As an actor, recently Kevin has performed in two of David Rush’s plays (Lenny Dreaming and To My Dear Wife). Over the past two years, Kevin also performed his solo piece A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas at the Varsity Center. Since moving to the area in 2013 and joining the The Stage Company, Kevin has directed all three plays in Suzan Zeder’s  Ware Trilogy and Kari Catton’s play Healin’ Home.  In Springfield, IL, in Nov 2018, Kevin will be directing his original play titled Lincoln and Shakespeare for the Illinois Bicentennial.


Agnes: Katie Wittenborn

Dr. Livingstone: Diane Taveau

Mother Miriam: Elyse Pineau

Elyse Pineau is Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and has been acting and directing for many years. She was recently seen in Vanya on the Plains at the Kleinau Theater. Diane Taveau plays the role of Dr. Livingstone, the psychiatrist assigned to interview Agnes and uncover the truth about her fitness and culpability. Diane has been acting, professionally and locally, for a number of years. Diane also directs; she most recently directed Twelve Angry Men at John A. Logan College. And in the title role of Agnes the young nun, Katelyn Wittenborn is making her stage company debut. Katelyn is a student at John A. Logan College