UNCW Department of Theatre Student Labs Presents: The Drunken Sisters and Dulcitius

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This Season’s Student Labs proudly present The Drunken Sisters written By Thornton Wilder and directed by Erica Betts and Dulcitius written by Hrotsvita of Gandersheim and directed by Natalie Dill.

UNCW Department of Theatre Student Labs will present Drunken Sisters and Dulcitius in the SRO Theatre on Thursday, March 23rd, 2023, and will run March 23 – March 26th starting at 7PM, with a Sunday matinee at 2PM.

Tickets are $9 for General Public and $3 for Students and Children. They are available at the Kenan Box Office on campus by calling 910.962.3500 or online at uncwarts.universitytickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person an hour before the show dates. Parking is free for theatre patrons in the pay station spaces in front of the Cultural Arts Building (CAB) lot (lot Q), in gated lot Q and across the street from the CAB in Randal Drive lot (lot I) after 5 pm Monday – Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday.

The Drunken Sisters:

During the reign of Queen Alcestis and King Admetus, Apollo was sent down to earth to live as a mortal. Due to how fond he’d become of them Apollo planned to save the King Admetus’s life the only way he knew how, tricking the Sisters of Fate into playing games, getting drunk, and missing their deadline to end Admetus’s life. Unfortunately, this trick will come at a cost Apollo did not intend. Proving gluttony comes at a cost most can’t afford.

Thornton Wilder’s “The Drunken Sisters” is his take on a Grecian satyr play, written to be the lighthearted headliner for his play “The Alcestiad.” “The Alcestiad” is about the sacrifice Alcestis made to save the life of Admetus when no one else would, which compares and contrasts well with Apollo’s similar intention but vastly different methods in “The Drunken Sisters.” “The Drunken Sisters” is also published in Wilder’s collection of 7 short plays representing the 7 deadly sins, it being gluttony. Some regard as one of Wilder’s funniest works, “The Drunken Sisters” is a short, sweet, and fascinating show to come along with for the ride.


The martyrdom of the holy virgins Agape, Chionia, and Irena. The governor Dulcitius seeks them out in the silence of the night, with criminal intent, but hardly has he entered the prison, then he becomes the victim of a delusion, under which he mistakes for the objects of his passion, saucepans and frying pans. These he embraces and covers with kisses until his face and clothes are black with soot and dirt. Later by order of Diocletian, the emperor, he hands the maidens over to the care of Sisinnius, who now has charge of their punishment. Sisinnius in his turn, is made the sport of most strange delusions, but at length succeeds in getting Agape and Chionia burnt and Irena shot to death with arrow.

In recorded history, Hrotsvita of Gandersheim is the first woman known to write plays. Born around 935 CE in a region we now know as Germany, Hrotsvita entered a convent as a canoness, a woman who lived a pious, monastic life (similar to a nun who took religious vows). Being a canoness granted aristocratic women in medieval Europe greater economic and social freedoms including the right to remain unmarried and to pursue advanced education. Though our knowledge of Hrosvitha is somewhat limited, we know that she was a confessed fan of Terence, the Roman-African playwright (and possibly the first Black playwright in recorded history) and that she set out to imitate his famous comedic style while elevating her women characters through their nobility and Christian virtue. Her plays often feature heroic nuns who triumph over the threat of violence from men. Hrosvitha likely did get to hear her plays read aloud and perhaps staged within the abbey by other monastic women. And as surprising as it might be, Hrosvitha is only one of several cloistered women who wrote plays. Shout outs to Hildegarde von Bingen and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz for their early dramatic writing. As you watch the play, listen for some truly revolutionary lines spoken by female characters for the first time on the theatrical stage. Hrotsvitha, after all, means “Strong Voice.”

Content in this publication was created by the Department of Theatre. If you have any questions, contact Megan Morley at mm9059@uncw.edu

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