Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!

The schoolgirl uniform fantasy - onstage

Sister Mary's a Dyke?! Yes, yes she is
Button-up shirts, short skirts and high socks. For some queer women, the schoolgirl may be a fantasy. For those like Flerida Peña, it was an uncomfortable truth full of theatrical potential. “I went to Loretto Abbey, which is in North Toronto,” Peña says. “All-girls’ school, I’m gay . . . the awkward reality that proved to be as I found myself.”

The latest incarnation of Peña’s play Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!, produced by Cahoots Theatre Company, gives Toronto the chance to slip into the black patent shoes of a poor little lesbian schoolgirl. The piece started as a monologue for the Buddies Queer Youth Arts Program’s Pride Cab. In it, a young pre-lesbian in an all-girls’ Catholic school “word vomits” about her crush on a friend. This went on to become a 30-minute show in the Young Creators’ Unit. Peña worked with theatre creator and musician Evalyn Parry to find the arc of the show. “Maybe everyone’s gay and she doesn’t know it,” Peña says of the story’s development. “Maybe there’s an underground society of lesbians in the school and she doesn’t know it. Maybe she finds that out!”

Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! travels from the halls of a Catholic girls’ school to the streets of Vatican City. “It goes from the resignation of Pope Benedict until the election of the new pope,” Peña says. “It used to be, before he resigned, that he was assassinated, but this whole election thing ruined it! I had to do some quick rewriting.”

Peña’s quick to clarify that the show is irreverently reverent: “I would say I’m agnostic. I don’t go to church, but I wouldn’t take religion away from somebody who is religious. Just point out the things that maybe they shouldn’t follow just because they’ve been told to is my whole thing.”