Marriage will meet Catholic school at the Opera House when Mary Zentmyer presents “Late Nite Catechism 3: ’Till Death do us Part.”

Marriage will meet Catholic school at the Opera House when Mary Zentmyer presents “Late Nite Catechism 3: ’Till Death do us Part.”
The show will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and is a combination of one-person play and improv.
Zentmyer will play the role of “Sister,” a Catholic nun instructing her students, the audience, about the Catholic Sacraments Holy Matrimony (Marriage) and the Blessing of the Sick.
“It’s a fun show for couples, because we cover compatibility issues, and tips to a long and happy marriage,” Zentmyer said.
Zentmyer has been playing “Sister” in this play for five years, but she first became part of the “Catechism” cast in 1996 when she auditioned for the original “Late Nite Catechism.” That play opened in 1993 and has played in Chicago ever since.
Zentmyer said “Catechism 3” comprises a scripted, 25-page monologue and audience participation. The audience represents Sister’s class, and it’s Zentmyer’s job to improvise if her “students” get rowdy.
The second part of the show includes a newlywed-style game show portion, where couples from the audience are invited on stage to play.
“That blend makes for a fresh and different performance every, single time, since the audience participation, or ‘student shenanigans,’ differ for every ‘class,’” Zentmyer said. “It creates a classroom flashback of sorts, where you feel like you are back in elementary or high school.”
However, it’s not just fun and games. Zentmyer said the play is based on real Catholic doctrine, and she said many people find it educational as well as entertaining.
“Everything ‘Sister’ teaches is true; it is based in real Catechism and talks about sacraments and saints, and things that we really learned about in school,” Zentmyer said.
Zentmyer said it’s also a chance for people to remember their days in school.
“It strikes a chord, deep within people who attended Catholic School and remember the nuns, and also anyone who’s ever had a strict teacher,” Zentmyer said. “It makes you feel like a kid again, in a simpler, slower time. You are back in class where we used a No. 2 pencil and white chalk.”
One thing that makes the Late Nite Catechism series unique is the free-will offering taken at the end of the show for the support of elderly nuns. Over time, several million dollars have been collected.
Audience members also will be able to purchase a valentine champagne package that includes a chance to win a special prize.
“People should attend with their favorite sweetheart, to have a good laugh together,” Zentmyer said. “It’s a great date-night treat, and you might go home with a nifty prize. It gives you a chance to step away from the technology and relax a little — you’ll be able to slow down and actually make eye contact, have conversations with people, be in the moment, laugh, play a game, and laugh some more.”