Charles Busch Engages in Nunsense

PlayBlog   Charles Busch Engages in Nunsense
"The whole point was to have fun so I decided to write a role where I didn’t have to wear a girdle — that's why it turned out to be about nuns," says Charles Busch about his latest theatrical creation, a nun-funpoke called The Divine Sister , now playing to March 7 at Theatre for the New City.

He, of course, has assigned himself the title role — the unsinkable Mother Superior of St. Veronica's, which, in ways large and small, is overrun with mad nuns. Busch explains, "I actually play a very lovely, sanctimonious nun of the Rosalind Russell-Loretta Young school. I could never be quite as effective as Greer Garson, although I think I'll wear maybe a little less eyeliner. I love that nuns in Hollywood movies always have false eyelashes.

"I love those movies, and I thought 'I'm going to get only one shot at playing a nun' so I had to put in every possible moment that I've wanted to play in a nun movie."

He has gotten it down to a science: There's a nun with a stigmata; Julie Halston plays a nun undergoing a very intense sexual hysteria; instead of Ingrid Bergman's boxing lesson, Busch teaches a young boy how to swing a bat — and tries to persuade a grouchy, Irish philanthropist to turn her home into a new Catholic school.

The nuns in her (dis)order include Alison Fraser, Amy Rutberg and Jennifer Van Dyck. Jonathan Walker has the lone male role. Busch vet Carl Andress directs.

—Harry Haun

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