Nuns4Fun comedy coming to St. Bartholomew Feb. 4

Submitted photo Nancy Greco of of Chicago-based Nuns4Fun will present the one-woman comedy “Bible Bingo” Feb. 4 at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Columbus.

More than anything, the spotlight seems to shine on reminiscing when members of the Nuns4Fun arts troupe take the stage.

Founder Vicki Quade, a lifelong Catholic who early on saw beneath her grade school nuns’ stern exterior, wants it that way with her one-woman show scripts highlighting all manner of sister acts, if you will.

“I never really had a fear of them like some other people did because I got to know them outside of school,” said Quade, speaking by phone from her Chicago home.

The playwright and journalist brings a keen eye and a sharp memory to her 12-year-old, one-woman show, “Bible Bingo,” that Nuns4Fun actress Nancy Greco will present at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 1306 27th St. in Columbus. Organizers are hoping to sell at least 300 tickets, priced at $30 each, which includes appetizers at 6 p.m.

“Bingo is so very Catholic, right?” Quade asked. “People know it and recognize it instantly. And it weaves all this Catholic humor around actual games of bingo.”

All for kitschy prizes such as glow-in-the-dark rosaries, get-out-of-hell-free cards and Catholic coloring books.

The production’s story slated here highlights a Catholic parish that needs money. So the Archdiocese has a new bingo department, headed by Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien, a former nun. The character mixes Bible trivia, audience interaction, improvised moments, “and the funniest quiz about the Holy Family you’ve ever seen,” as Quade puts it.

But she makes it as clear as holy water that her productions are never mocking or disparaging the faith. In fact, she is upfront about the fact that she has long championed various nuns orders’ work with schools, hospitals, missions, you name it. In fact, at most shows, she takes up a collection for a particular order’s cause.

So, with these shows, think the good-natured comedy of the film “Sister Act,” which Quade figures she has watched at least 25 times.

“I could easily do that show (by heart),” she said with a laugh.

She understands that times have changed drastically since her childhood.

“Now, sadly, there just aren’t that many nuns still around,” Quade said. “… But I always say that the nuns did a pretty good job to put us all on the straight and narrow.”

Her troupe keeps alive Catholics’ memories of everything from being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler to students having their nose planted within a chalkboard circle for talking in class.

“The baby boomers are one of the really big groups that regularly come to see us,” Quade said.

Quade’s group of actors now presents about a dozen different comedies around the country at churches and a variety of other venues.

“You’ve got to keep to fresh,” she said of the continued expansion of productions in her group’s lineup.

Connie Sandlin, St. Bartholomew’s liturgy coordinator, saw Nuns4Fun perform Quade’s original, 1993 Catholic comedy “Late Night Catechism” a few years ago in Indianapolis and loved it.

“It was so funny that we were nearly falling out of our chairs laughing,” Sandlin said.

Yet, woven within all of Quade’s shows are historical spiritual facts, tidbits on the saints and much more.

“Audience members,” she said, “always are telling me afterward, ‘I learned a lot today.’”