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ages 10+ 
60 minutes

no intermission
 

Script by : Hroswitha of Gandersheim

Adapted by : Joseph Shragge
(from a literal translation by Lynn Kozak)
Directed (and concept) by : Mia van Leeuwen

Dramaturgy by : Anthony Kennedy

SAPIENTIA

Objects come to life in Sapientia, a rare production from the first female playwright, 10th-century writer Hroswitha of Gandersheim. The challenging piece is about the arrival of a proselytizing Christian noblewoman to Rome, where she must face the Emperor’s command to worship the pagan gods or have her daughters, Faith, Hope and Charity put to torture. Its uniquely bizarre narrative about the clash of religions introduces us to the formidable Sapientia pitted against a paternalistic and buffoonish Hadrian. The result of their conflict is a display of lurid onstage violence toward children who, through divine intervention, become immune to physical pain and even undergo bodily transformations. Inspired by Terence’s comedies, and the lives of the saints, Hroswitha’s text conveys a tone of uneasy humor, at times resembling what would today be described as a body horror comedy.

To stage this story, director Mia van Leeuwen uses object theatre, a form of puppetry where performers animate found, everyday objects to tell a story, e.g., a mirror, an espresso maker and tea cups.

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