Unholy: Back by popular demand

by | November 20, 2017

I was encouraging readers to check out a play about misogyny and religion by award-winning playwright Diane Flacks.

[Poster for the play "Unholy".]


That play was Unholy, which takes the form of four women having a spirited debate on a fictional YouTube show about the question: “Should women abandon religion?” The characters: a feminist Muslim and an Orthodox Jewish spiritual leader arguing that women should stick with religion, and an excommunicated nun and a lesbian atheist pundit arguing that they should walk away.

Unholy had a rather limited run in January, but Nightwood Theatre has just let me know that after getting a string of good reviews and a nomination for the Dora for Outstanding New Play, it is back by popular demand.

If you’re wondering what kind of play you might be in for, check out this episode of CBC’s Tapestry, which includes an excerpt. Also, Diane Flacks wrote an article in Intermission about what inspired her to write the play. (Also, there’s an amusing video where Flacks offers commentary after you just happen to catch her casually sipping coffee and reading the paper in front of a black backdrop.)

If you’ve already seen the show, you might want to consider seeing it again. That’s because Nightwood Theatre has informed me that Diane Flacks has updated the script to take into account what’s happened during 2017. I don’t know exactly what the updates are, but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t include references to Québec’s Bill 62 – niqab bans were already hotly debated in the script from last year.

The new run opens , and plays the following dates:

Previews (8:00 PM)
Thursday, 23 November
Friday, 24 November

Regular shows (8:00 PM)
Saturday, 25 November
Tuesday, 28 November – Saturday, 2 December
Tuesday, 5 December – Saturday, 9 December

Matinee shows (2:30 PM)
Sunday, 26 November
Saturday, 2 December
Sunday, 3 December
Saturday, 9 December
Sunday, 10 December

All shows are at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre at 12 Alexander Street.

Another neat perk of going to the play on certain days is that after the show, either the cast (which includes Flacks, the writer) or a guest engages in a conversation with the audience. One of the guests last year was Gretta Vosper… and she’s back again this year! That’s right, if you go to the , the post-show discussion will be hosted by Gretta Vosper… who is fresh in the news right now due to the United Church indefinitely delaying her punishment. There will be plenty to discuss there, I’m sure.

So if you’re in the GTA late-November/early-December, this is must-see theatre, and a great way to kick off the holiday season.

One thought on “Unholy: Back by popular demand

  1. steve oberski

    I saw the play last year at Buddies in Bad Times and can not recommend it highly enough.

    If you’re tired of mansplaining on the issue of misogyny in religion then this is the play for you.

    As a one whose formative years took place during a time when gender was very binary and as a first time visitor to Buddies I also advise you to examine the signs on the washroom doors carefully before entry.


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