"The voices of Katharina"

The author: Anne Helgesen and Lyder Verne

Stage director: Anne Helgesen

Scenographer: Howard Lloyd

Composer: Bjørn Andor Drage

Organ player: Magnus Asplid

Actors: Cecilie Schilling, Magnus Asplid (musician)

Playing time: 1 hour

Age limit: 12+

Language:  English   

«Katharina's Voices» is a theatre production for church settings. It takes the form of a monologue by Katharina von Bora (1499 – 1552) who was one of twelve nuns who escaped from Marienthorn Convent in 1523. She later married Martin Luther. The historical material enables us to explore how religion was used to repress women of the German nobility in the late Middle Ages. This is a highly topical subject with relevance in current discussion of continued repression of women in the name of religion.

The performance is about Katharina's quandary as to whether she should remain in the convent or escape with the other eleven nuns. She has lived in the convent since the age of six and has little knowledge of life outside its walls. She sneaks into the convent chapel to read the Protestant documents she knows are hidden there. On entering the chapel, she realises it is full of people. She is initially frightened, believing them to be demons. However, she slowly comes to trust the public, confesses her thoughts to them and finally reaches the decision to discard her wimple and leave the convent.

«Katharina’s Voices» is a monologue for a single performer who must master a range of voices. This requirement is admirably met by the principal player, Cecilia Schilling, who is a trained opera singer and a self-taught ventriloquist. For her collaboration with Kattas Figurteater Ensemble, she has also needed to learn puppetry skills.