I'm not a praying man. If I were, my prayers — especially those offered up after watching a performance of Nunsense, Amen at Desert Stages Theatre earlier this week — might sound something like this:
"Deliver us, Lord, from funny nun musicals, especially those in which each of the characters is played by a man in a poorly sewn poly-blend habit and a cardboard wimple. Almighty God, in whose hands lies the destiny of men and nations, help us to appreciate cheesy concept shows featuring rehashed dance steps, double entendre, costumes with torn hems, and ventriloquist routines involving sock puppets.
"Enable us by your grace to suffer without weeping the indignities of pre-show promotions in which disembodied voices attempt humor while reminding us to turn off our cell phones and pagers, not only because these prerecorded routines are always so profoundly unfunny but because no thinking person has carried a pager since 1987.
Desert Stages, 47200 North Scottsdale Road
Nunsense, Amen continues through October 5. Call 480-483-1664.
"Grant us, Most Holy Father, the strength to endure another script that includes an audience-participation skit, and endow us with the capacity to abandon our plans to hunt down and kill each and every playwright who has ever included this tired, tedious, always dreary comic device in a stage play or musical.
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"I beseech you to intercede on our behalf in convincing theaters great and small that the use of prerecorded music in the presentation of a stage musical is unkind to audiences and completely artless, to boot. Guide us with your pure and peaceable wisdom to understand audience members who show up to the theater in shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops, especially those who use the time before curtain to noisily celebrate their ability to ingest margaritinis before a show. While I'm at it, please deliver us from cocktails with cute names.
"Aid us in recalling the lessons learned by the late Rosalind Russell, who discovered, after starring as a bride of Christ in both The Trouble with Angels and its far inferior sequel, that nuns are funny for only so long, after which time they become sad and a little pathetic.
"I suppose, Lord, that because this is a prayer, I should be grateful for something, so thank you for effeminate pre-teen ticket-takers who remind us that little boys who talk like the actors in a '30s Warner Brothers programmer are still being manufactured by our Father.
"Draw us, O Lord, toward a deeper understanding of the need for actors to thank their pets in their playbill biographies, and for their refusal to memorize their lines, sing on key, or learn dance moves prior to opening night. And finally, Most Holy Guardian, I ask your divine mercy in sparing us the misfortune of another summer made up entirely of banal, quickly produced programs designed not to entertain or enlighten, but rather to sell tickets to poor slobs like myself. Amen."