The Cross Timbers Theatre Company never fails to deliver excellent performances, and their latest production, “Agnes of God,” proves to be their most compelling work thus far.

As the Catholic Mass song “Agnus Dei” is recited during the initial minutes of the first act of “Agnes of God,” it sets the mood to that of a slightly somber and haunting one, which is carried throughout the production.

In the first scene, audience members are introduced to Dr. Martha Livingston (Melody Baggech), a former Catholic-turned-Atheist psychologist who has had a rocky relationship with Catholicism. Her view on the world is slightly jaded; upon losing a childhood friend and sister, both of whom were connected to the religion, she decides to forgo any sort of organized religion and base life purely on facts that can be proven. The trouble with her beliefs, however, are faced head-on when she begins to work on an investigation revolving around the incredibly naïve nun Agnes (Abby Marks) and the death of her newborn child.

Asserting that her pregnancy and the ultimate demise of her offspring was caused by an act of God, Agnes remembers nothing of the incident. Shy, introverted and psychologically damaged, Agnes is the type of character that seems to be so far gone in her own private world that getting any information from her would be a miracle. As Livingstone attempts to uncover the truth, she is hindered by the mother superior of the convent, Miriam Ruth (Cathlena Spencer Boyd), a lady with a questionable past and demons of her own. All three characters interact with one another with a certain level of kindness, although it slowly begins to fade once Livinstone begins to find out the truth as to what occurred on the night of the birth.

I won’t ruin the storyline, as the plot is straightforward, but the outcome is definitely a surprise.

Baggech’s interpretation of Dr. Livingstone was right on target. She brought to life her history as it culminated with her present situation and seemed to bring along with it an array of questions that even she couldn't answer with scientific facts.

Boyd presented Mother Miriam Ruth with a shallow sense of kindness that was very convincing, while covering up vital information that was necessary to the outcome. She seemed to be very much connected to her role.

Marks was exceptional in the title role of Agnes. She fleshed out the character with a sense of both hopelessness and credulousness.

Overall, "Agnes of God" was extremely moving and thought-provoking. It’s interesting to see what too much religion is capable of doing to people who don’t know how to handle it.

"Agnes of God" begins tonight at 8 p.m. at Faust Hall on the East Central University campus and runs through Saturday evening. A Saturday matinee will also be offered. For information and reservations, phone (580) 320-2129.

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