Part courtroom drama, part whodunit, The Runner Stumbles is based on a true story of a Nun's mysterious murder in a remote parish in northern Michigan in the Nineteen teens and the charge that her superior, Father Rivard, is her murderer. The alternating action between interrogations, testimony and scenes from the past reveal that Father Rivard, who had been banished to the small, up-country parish, fell in love with Sister Rita; and when circumstances forced her to move into the rectory with him, his anguish became unbearable. Their relationship, inevitably, spelled tragedy, but not until the explosive and surprising climax of the play is the full extent of their sacrifice made clear.
The Runner Stumbles premiered on Broadway in 1976 and ran for nearly 400 performances over two years. Austin Pendleton directed that production, which starred Stephen Joyce, Craig Richard Nelson, Nancy Donohue and James Noble.
Retro's production stars Jim Boerlin, Becky Byers, Nat Cassidy, Heather E. Cunningham, Casandera M.J. Lollar, Joe Mathers, Christopher Patrick Mullen, Alisha Spielmann and Ric Sechrest.
The production team includes Jack and Rebecca Cunningham (scenic design), Kathryn Rohe (principal costume design), Jacqueline Reid (lighting design), Jeanne Travis (sound design and stage management), Heather E. Cunningham (properties design), and Joe Mathers (special effects).
The Runner Stumbles performance schedule is November 8 through 20, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm with additional performances Monday, November 8 at 8:00 pm; Sunday, November 13 at 7:00 pm; and Wednesday, November 17 at 8:00 pm. Performances will be held at the Richmond Shepard Theater (309 East 26th Street at 2nd Ave.; Subway: 6 to 28th St.).
Tickets to The Runner Stumbles are $18 ($15 seniors, $5 student rush at the door). For advance purchase, visit http://www.theatermania.com or call (212) 352-3101.