Playwright Flerida Peña

Playwright Flerida Peña speaks about the early phases of development and intentions with her upcoming play, Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!

What was your high school experience like?

FP: Ha! My high school experience was similar to the play’s main character’s high school experience.  There was no Vatican takeover but I too attended an all-girls Catholic high school and what I found out after the fact was that some of those girls were like me, super-f******-queer.

This piece seems like it is very much inspired by your high school experience, what about your Filipino background?

FP: While Abby is never revealed to be Filipino, there are hints and nods to her background scattered throughout the play.  A large percentage of Filipinos are staunch Catholics and Abby and her family reflect that, so much so that she even has an aunt or “Tita” who is a nun the Philippines.  As a whole, Abby would be a much different character were she not Filipino.

What do you have to say about the recent banning of rainbows at an anti-homophobia event in a Mississauga Catholic School?

FP: The inspiration for Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! came from the discovery that my high school was an incubator for a very large and elusive lesbian/queer/gaymo population. Between the various high school cliques I realized that lesbians walked among us, acknowledged in existence but not socially recognized or “out of the closet”, due to the taboo nature of queer identity within the Catholic School Systems. Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! is important to me because it recognizes and addresses issues that affect a minority group within a minority group.  This play is about challenging traditions and structure.

Flerida Peña joins  Director Nina Lee Aquino, Designer Camellia Koo and Dramaturge  Ric Knowles for a two week creative rehearsal before their public workshop presentations in May of 2012.

In its original incarnation of 30 minutes, Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! was directed by Evalyn Parry when Flerida was part of Buddies in Bad Times’ Young Creator’s Unit. It was also showcased at the Kultura Festival hosted by the Carlos Bulosan Theatre & the Kapisanan Centre for Philippine Arts & Culture in the summer of 2010.