Once a Catholic

by  Mary O'Malley

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 10f

Winner! 1978-1979 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in Playwriting

"Sharp and evocative...refreshing play that will be a source of much merriment among the devout and lapsed." - Plays and Players

Read more +

Once a Catholic

by  Mary O'Malley

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 10f
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Winner! 1978-1979 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in Playwriting
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This extremely funny comedy based on the author's school days in a London convent does not necessarily finish the title phrase with "always a Catholic." Rather, this play, a celebrated prize-winner and a critical success, is about the resilience of children to survive in spite of, not because of, their upbringing and indoctrination.

All the girls in Class 5A are called Mary (apart from one Maria). One, an innocent who has not yet learned the gentle art of deception, finds herself the perpetual scapegoat. The author concentrates principally on the amusing ways the girls deal with the dogma constantly pumped into them. Hilarious moments have a more serious underlying theme: how true does much of this remain today?

Read more +

Accolades

  • Winner! 1978-1979 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in Playwriting

Reviews

REVIEWS

"Sharp and evocative...refreshing play that will be a source of much merriment among the devout and lapsed." - Plays and Players

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1950s
  • Setting: Harlesden, London, 1956-57
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

4m, 10f

MOTHER PETER - a tall, stout, middle aged Irish teaching nun.
MOTHER BASIL - a short, fat, elderly Irish teaching nun.
MOTHER THOMAS AQUINAS - a tall, thin, fairly young and very refined Irish nun. Headmistress of the Convent of Our Lady of Fatima.
MARY MOONEY - a 5th former. She is plain and dowdy and has ginger hair, freckles and a good soprano singing voice. 
MARY MCGINTY - a well developed, pretty, blonde 5th former.
MARY GALLAGHER - a sensible, attractive, dark haired 5th former.
FATKER MULLARKEY - an Irish Priest. 
MR. EMANUELLI - a very old Music Master with a foreign accent. He has long, white hair, a bandage on one leg, a slipper on one foot, two walking sticks and a baritone voice. 
DEREK - a tall, thin Teddy Boy in his late teens. 
CUTHBERT - a Catholic 6th former with a fairly bad case of acne. 

PUPILS OF FORM 5A 

MARY O'GRADY
MARY HENNESSY
MARY MURPHY
MARY FLANAGAN

See all +

Resources

More

Authors

Mary O'Malley

Mary O'Malley

Once a Catholic premiered on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre in October 1979 under the direction of Mike Ockrent.

Now Playing

Community Experiences