Luke Devenish


A Sapphic Sex Shocker

Lamalou-les-Bains, France, somewhere in the early 20th century…

When Mother Superior Marie du Sacré-Coeur’s invigorating practice of “finding the faults” in her Novice Mistress, Sister Clotilde, abruptly dries up, the latter is left bereft.

But when mysterious evidence arrives suggesting Mother Marie might well be finding the faults elsewhere, furious Sister Clotilde claims the moral high ground.

Enlisting exiled Sister Placide into her scheme to expose the straying Superior, the resulting uproar sees the Delicate Sisters of the Tiny Hands Convent flung into the sordid cells of the Scrubber Sisters of the Soiled Pantaloons – and the sadistic excesses of the Abbess Émilie.

The result is a maelstrom of ever more erring ecclesiastics, all of which only goes to prove in the end that they are but God’s vessels on the violent voyage to humility.

This is a newly completed comedy, yet to be performed. Its genesis comes from my ongoing playwright’s interest in creating 'perverse re-purposings' of old theatrical and cinematic forms. In this case, two particularly disparate forms have been forced together into a shotgun marriage: the boulevard farces of Georges Feydeau and nunsploitation movies. 

My intention has been to not only subvert authority and sexuality, as farce traditionally does, but also to subvert the heterosexual norm that farce traditionally upholds.

In this comedy the objects of liturgical lust are, refreshingly, not children and innocents, but fellow ecclesiastics. The world of Nunsploitation is filled to bursting with the randy religious, all of whom are rooting each other to ruination.

Or are they? This is also a comedy where surface and subtext are in perpetual stand-off. What we hear may not necessarily be what is said, and what we see might concern something else entirely.

Scratch the paint and the Feydeau undercoat will show – Georges has been generous in structure, device and tone. Scratch it some more and lurid shockers like The Lady of Monza and Flavia the Heretic will expose themselves. There is demonic possession, lesbianism, bizarre acts of God, and speaking in tongues to be found here.

All the fun things.