The Sins of Sor Juana


Karen Zacarias

Published by Dramatic Publishing

3 Male 4 Female

Juana Inéz de la Cruz, one of the first published poets of the Americas, was born in Mexico in 1648, a poor and illegitimate child

She became renowned for her intelligence and ambition when, at the age of 12, she tried sneaking into the University of Mexico by dressing as a man

The viceregal court of New Spain heard about this phenomenal girl and invited her to join the court, where she developed an extremely close relationship with the vicereine

By all records Juana was a very attractive, complex, witty and difficult young woman. She wrote and read voraciously

Her circumstances and intelligence provoked admiration and envy

However, when she was 17, she suddenly and inexplicably left the viceregal court to join a convent

There are theories about failed love, fear of marriage and her sexual identity

In the convent her focus was not God, but writing - and her work and poetry expressed a feminism centuries ahead of her time

For years while the church struggled to silence her she resisted and continued writing until, one day, she wrote a declaration in her own blood, vowing never to write again

She remained true to her word and died soon after

This play is a researched fantasy that explores the two turning points in this woman's life

10 characters are played by 7 actors - doubling necessary to the story May be expanded with chorus, court and nuns

Winner of the Helen Hayes Award - The Charles MacArthur Prize for Outstanding New Play, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

Winner of the 1998 Hispanic Playwrights Project, South Coast Repertory Theatre

"The play has everything ... brilliantly written ... The Sins of Sor Juana is a must-see ... wonderfully complex and poetic" ~ Broadside

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