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By Ralph Derickson


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The play by John Pielmeier was first staged in 1979 at the O'Neill Theatre in New York. Pielmeier won the 1979 Great American Play Contest for his work.

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May 20, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The Lexington Shakespeare Festival, with special support from the Department of Theatre in the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, will present the play "Agnes of God" June 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 in the Briggs Theatre of the UK Fine Arts Building.

The production will star Kathryn Brantley Todd, daughter of UK President and Mrs. Lee T. Todd Jr. and; Martha Campbell, a consultant to the Shakespeare Festival, and Patricia Clark, a drama teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington and the artistic director for the Shakespeare Festival. Campbell and Clark were students at UK at the same time and both hold master's degrees in theatre from UK. Clark recently played the role of Big Mama in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" presented in Lexington's new Downtown Arts Center.

In "Agnes of God," Todd plays Agnes, a nun accused of murdering her newborn baby. Campbell plays Miriam Ruth, a Mother Superior, and Clark plays the psychiatrist Martha Livingstone, who was appointed by the court to determine if Sister Agnes is insane.

The play by John Pielmeier was first staged in 1979 at the O'Neill Theatre in New York. Pielmeier won the 1979 Great American Play Contest for his work.

Pielmeier, who began his career at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, also wrote the screenplay for the film version of "Agnes of God." Among his later writings, Pielmeier wrote a well known television movie "Choices of the Heart" about a slain American missionary in El Salvador.

Clark said she and Todd began talking about presenting "Agnes of God" when Todd was Clark's student at Dunbar High School three years ago.

"But we were just overwhelmed that year," Clark said. "But we made a promise to each other to do it when she was back in town."

James W. Rodgers, a UK theater professor who has taught at UK for 24 years, is directing the play.

Todd attended Boston University where she majored in international relations. She was a student at UK during the spring 2002 semester in order to participate in her father's inaugural activities.

Todd began her serious stage work in New York City at the age of eight in the national tour of "Annie." She played the roles of Annie and Pepper. She has made several commercials for television for such companies as AT&T, Bell South and Tyco. She also studied voice and dance for many years in Lexington, California and in New York City. At Dunbar, Todd appeared as Elizabeth Proctor in "The Crucible" and as Annie in "Annie Get Your Gun."

The "Agnes of God" production also signals another new town-gown cooperative venture between UK and Lexington, said Derik R. Mannon, general manager of Lexington Shakespeare Festival Inc.

The Shakespeare Festival offers Shakespeare plays in the UK/Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Arboretum during the summer.

Performances of "Agnes of God" are set for 8 p.m. each night. A 2:30 p.m. Matinee performance is set for Sunday, June 23.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens and UK faculty and staff members and $8 for students of all ages. The tickets are available from the ticket office in the Singletary Center for the Arts, (859) 257-4929.

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