Why am I getting typecast as a nun?
By Josh Larsen
Dec 5, 2010
Nuns have been good to Lisa Braatz.
Ever since first appearing in “Late Nite Catechism” about eight years ago, the Naperville actor has kept busy donning a habit on stage, including this month in “Mother Superior’s Ho-Ho-Holy Night” at Chicago’s Royal George Theater.
The interactive show follows a parish trying to incorporate the secular and religious elements of Christmas into one pageant. By the end, Braatz said, “Santa Claus baby-sits baby Jesus so Mary and Joseph can go out on a date night in Bethlehem.”
1. How did you first get into the nun business?
“I had gone to an audition for something else, and the director goes, ‘You know what, you would be great for “Late Nite Catechism.”’ So I sent in my resumé every six months for four years. Then (the show) finally moved to Naperville at Crossroads Theater, and I said, ‘Listen, I live right here in Naperville. Please let me audition.’ So I did, and I got the part.”
2. In addition to “Late Nite Catechism” and “Ho-Ho-Holy Night,” you’ve also been in “Put the Nuns in Charge!” and “Nunsense.” Do you have a Catholic background from which to draw?
“I went to Catholic school all my life — grade school, high school and college. But when I first got ‘Late Night Catechism,’ I had to do so much research even though I had all this Catholic experience. (Now) I get typecast as a nun. Why do I get typecast as a nun? I guess I have this aura about me. People come up to me after the show and say, ‘Are you a real nun?’”
3. Have you always been involved in the theater?
“I started theater at 9 and have a degree in theater. I took some time off to have kids, and when I started (again) I did murder mystery theater. My son was in preschool, and we were rehearsing at my house. I dropped my son off at preschool, and we got a call from the teacher who told us he said, ‘My mom is murdering people in the basement.’ And I guess I was.”
4. How do you balance the secular and religious elements in “Ho-Ho-Holy Night?”
“You have to be funny but not irreverent. It walks a fine line. There are times you think of something in your head and say, ‘Ah, but that’s not appropriate. It would be funny, but it’s not appropriate.’ (The audiences) are totally with it. Once in awhile, you get one person who is kind of crabby and doesn’t understand what’s going on, but then we don’t pick on them (to participate). But that’s rare. When people come to a show, they’re coming to have fun.”
5. Do you find being in a Christmas production deepens or saps your holiday spirit?
“That’s really hard to say. The thing is, besides this Christmas show, I do murder mysteries at the beginning of December, so it blossoms with a lot of work. I’m really busy. It’s a good time because I like being busy. I hate when I’m not working. I don’t know if the Christmas show makes me more Christmasy, but I guess when you have a good audience, it gets you in the Christmas mood. I can’t say all the murder mysteries get me in the Christmas mood.”