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The Divine Sister

In the fall I went to see a play with my friend and former co-worker, William. He had chosen "The Divine Sister" by Charles Busch. It was directed by Carl Andress and held at the Soho Playhouse. Several of us made an evening of it, having dinner at a small (and sadly, a not that impressive Italian place in Soho) and ice-cream from a bodega before the show.

In our party, I think I was the only heterosexual. One other woman was along; a former co-worker of William's I'd not met before and who sent out very odd vibes. Either she was straight, but with a penchant for teddy bears or she was lesbian with a large circle of gay men friends but no current girlfriend. Either way, she had a lot of issues; and a penchant for gutter talk about unnamed people she'd been with or who wanted her that seemed pretty desperate. I was thankful that she didn't join us for dinner, only for the dessert.

As Charles Busch is a very well known NYC female impersonator/drag queen/gay community star almost the entire audience was comprised of gay men who very enthusiastic to see Busch on stage again. In fact, a man in line for the men's room at the theater joked with me, asking if I'd ever been anywhere where the line for the men's room was longer than the line for the women's (it was, by about 15 guys).

The show was a spoof-melange of various and sundry movies and plays that feature Catholic nuns and it was truly hilarious. Busch's stage presence is terrific and was much more the actor than the drag queen in this show. As I've not ever seen him before I don't know if this is a constant with him. The dialog was witty and pounced on well known films such as "Agnes of God" and "The Sound of Music" as well as a few other well known ones. They must have hit upon some that are more obscure as well, as the audience responded to some of the lines that I didn't get. Especially hilarious are the constant mis-interpretation of lines from the ghost of Jesus' older sister (yep, catch that implication) and the German dominatrix nun that leads the sect devoted to bringing the true scion to the forefront of the church.

b. T. Whitelhill's set was totally budget and had a hint of off beat humor, including "stained glass" windows that featured food that iconic to American secular holidays and a Halloween-ish misshapenness to the "iron" gates.