Naughty, naughty

Theatre Three exposes a bit of Durang in Disgraceful Acts

She grows quite a bit testier, however, when a group of former students (Tom Lenaghen, Melanie Stroh, Yolonda Williams, and Terry Dobson) return to confess that their adult lives have rendered them less than ideal Catholic role models. Abortions, children out of wedlock, homosexuality--the usually unflappable Sister Mary resorts to some drastic solutions to erase these sins of her former charges.

Dallas audiences will be familiar with Sharon Bunn, a local musical-comedy veteran who plays both Sister Mary Ignatius and Amanda in Southern Belle. As an actress, Bunn is a gift to any satirist because she doesn't step outside the play to elicit audience laughter. Her timing is based on a thoroughly harmonious reading of the author's intentions, which, when the material is incisive, makes her performance all the more memorable. She rides the loony bumper-cars of Southern Belle without once attempting to redirect the course of the play. A heavier hand, while it might have been welcome here and there, would ultimately drag that trifle on longer than it (and the audience) deserved.

She plays a more decisive role in the action of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, which is pretty much a one-woman show with a chorus of tragic dissenters, and comes up with a doozie. Sister Mary is a monster, not because she delights in sheer meanness, but because she refuses to see anyone (including herself) as anything but a puppet attached by strings to the Vatican. It's not the devil who's in the details here, but God's own despotic spokeswoman on earth. Bunn works that anointed mission with sly, subtle dedication. She's delightful, and just a little bit scary.

Disgraceful Acts runs through August 4. Call 871-2933.

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