First-year Elizabeth Wheless, who plays Agnes in Company Carolina’s upcoming show, "Agnes of God," will not leave the stage for the entirety of the evening on Thursday. The play features just three characters, all female, in the entire script.
“You get to know your castmates really well not only as their characters but as people and as actors,” Wheless said. “We still build a family environment out of it, and I love that.”
Wheless’ character, Agnes, is a nun who gives birth but claims that the baby is of virgin birth. The other two women in the show play a psychiatrist and the head nun, Mother Superior.
Not many plays have an ensemble consisting of just three characters, which makes "Agnes of God" unique. Wheless said she is thankful she got to be a part of such a special show that expanded her horizons as an actress.
Junior Kate Whaley is a co-director of the show alongside sophomore Clay Cooper. Although this is Whaley’s first time on the production end of a show, as she had only acted before, she said she is proud to be a part of a play with such impactful messages.
“If we don’t tell these stories that are difficult to tell on a campus like UNC, where will they be told?” Whaley said. “We feel that certain stories are neglected because they are hard to hear or tell, but we thought that was a good reason to tell that story through the storytelling media of theater.”
"Agnes of God" covers a range of difficult topics from mental illness to sexual assault. Wheless said all of these concerns fall under that greater umbrella of the concept of truth.
“The main theme of the play is truth and how truth can vary from person to person,” Wheless said. “We all have our own personal truths. It depends on how their truths change throughout the story. It’s important to note that truths can change. The star of this show is really what you leave with as your truth.”
The plot is based on a true story and was assembled by American playwright John Pielmeier, who also wrote the play "The Exorcist." The 1986 film adaptation of "Agnes of God" was nominated for three Academy Awards and two Golden Globes, winning one.