Some of those in the audience the night I saw The Divine Sister might have been expecting, or hoping for, antireligion satire along the lines of Christopher Durang’s Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You. But Busch’s target isn’t the church, as some have assumed. Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently cited the New York Times’s favorable coverage of The Divine Sister—“yet another tiresome production making fun of Catholic consecrated women”—as further evidence of the paper’s anti-Catholic bias. (He seemed mainly to dislike the production photos.) The weekly magazine Time Out New York is not helping by recommending the show with this blurb: “Heaven help us! Master of drag and camp Charles Busch is back and he’s making fun of nuns!” That makes The Divine Sister sound like a naughtier version of Nunsense—something the world definitely doesn’t need. In fact, the Nunsense take on religious life, as insulting as it is affectionate, is part of what Busch is spoofing. The Divine Sister parodies a specific depiction of nuns that is itself a parody of Catholicism.There's a partial indulgence in it for you if you read the whole thing.
Photo by David Rodgers.