'Late Nite Catechism'
For those who attended Catholic school as a child, the "Late Nite Catechism" comedy series has a certain nostalgic feel.
But even those who were not raised Catholic, and have never attended a class taught by nuns will have reason to chuckle when the latest in the series, "Til Death Do Us Part: Late Nite Catechism 3" comes to Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre this Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
"It may be about Catholics, but it's not in your face ... Lutherans will like it too," joked Diana Arioto, who plays the role of "Sister" in Thursday's show.
Actually, anyone who has ever been married or in a serious relationship will likely find something to smile about in "Til Death Do Us Part," Arioto said.
"It's very ecumenical humor," she said. "I'm Catholic, so it's not like I'm making fun of the Catholic Church."
In fact, Arioto said, she was a little concerned about the subject matter when she first auditioned for the part of "Sister" -- but she was reassured once she read the script.
"I've loved nuns since I was a little kid -- my sister even had a nun doll," she said. "I grew up loving the color black -- it's my favorite color."
So she doesn't mind being costumed in a full nun's habit for the show.
"I wear the whole getup," Arioto said.
Those who have seen previous installments of the "Catechism" series, performed by other actresses, may notice that Arioto's version is a little kinder and gentler than some.
"My 'Sister' is not as mean," she said. "She's still strict -- there's no gum chewing! -- but there is some fun to be had.
"I'm not as scary as some, but Sister is still the boss," Arioto cautioned. "It's her class."
Arioto has been performing the role of Sister for about seven years now, in all of its permutations. In the latest "Catechism" installment, she takes on marriage counseling -- Catholic nun style.
"In the first half, it's like you're in class at a Catholic school," Arioto said. "We talk about the sacraments of marriage and the blessing of the sick -- and we have visual aids."
One of those visual aids, she said, is "the timeline of a Catholic marriage."
Then, in the second half, Sister introduces a marriage compatibility quiz game that's "a cross between The Newlywed Game and Match Game," said Arioto.
Though she is the only actor in the show, the audience also plays a crucial role -- they actually fill the roles of participants in Sister's class.
"It's very interactive," she said. "But it's all volunteer -- I'm not going to force anybody.
"It's not a real class -- there won't be a quiz at the end," Arioto joked. "It's entertaining."
And because audience participation is such an intrinsic part of the show, she added, "it's different every night, which makes it fun for me."
When she was first cast in the role of Sister, Arioto said, she was directed to play the part "as though I were really a nun."
In real life, however, she is married -- her husband actually travels with her as the show's production manager.
"I guess I blew my cover," she joked.
Tickets for Thursday's show are $25 for adults and $12.50 for students, and can be purchased by visiting www.dlcccc.org online, by calling the Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-7469, or by visiting us at 806 Summit Ave, Detroit Lakes.