Forget Santa. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a visit from that jolly old Sister Myotis, the big-haired (and big just about everything else) alter ego of comedian, actor, and writer Steve Swift (pictured at center, with Jenny Madden and Todd Berry). Each year Project: Motion, Memphis' premier modern dance company, and the progressive thespians of Voices of the South team up for Pre-sent/Pres-ent, an evening of original dance and theater featuring some of Memphis' most creative personalities. But Swift's outlandish character always steals the show.
Myotis, as the story goes, grew her house of worship — the Good Tidings Apostolic Holiness Christian Fellowship of Saints — from its humble beginnings in Memphis into an 80,000-member megachurch complete with waterslides, laser-tag, bowling alleys, the Red Sea Wave Pool, and (best of all) the Vice President Dick Cheney Shooting Range.
Swift's character talks about the Bible like Paula Deen talks about butter, but his sometimes-scathing social commentary is wrapped in a crispy, deep-fried blanket of sincere affection. For more adventurous theatergoers tired of the same old holiday platitudes, Myotis' visit to TheatreWorks for Pre-sent/Pres-ent has become the season's must-see event.
So, in the words of the good sister: "May the love of the Lord swell up inside you until you near about bust."
"Pre-sent/Pres-ent" runs December 13th-16th. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Tickets can be ordered online at voicesofthesouth.org.