The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance will present Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love, opening March 31. Performances will be held in Westhoff Theatre and will run through April 8.

“Where in the Bible does it say that girls cannot be wise? Show me, prove to me beyond all doubt that fact, and then I will be silent,” Sister Sor Juana bravely asks the Archbishop in this play inspired by the life of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Edmundson creates a depiction of the church and state in turmoil while also focusing on women’s rights in a censored society. Sister Juana, the main character, finds her freedom of expression threatened when her life is disrupted by the arrival of a new archbishop at her convent. Though this play takes place in 17th-century Mexico, the themes and topics are relevant to contemporary discussions.

“Where in the Bible does it say that girls cannot be wise? Show me, prove to me beyond all doubt that fact, and then I will be silent.” —Sister Sor Juana, The Heresy of Love 

“It is a privilege to direct Helen Edmundson’s brilliant play, The Heresy of Love, which imagines the life of one of the Spanish Golden Age’s foremost intellectuals—a nun named Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz,” said Robert Quinlan, the director of the play. “Juana’s plays and poems were acclaimed by the Court, but criticized by many in the Church for their secular themes. Edmundson writes The Heresy of Love in the style of a Spanish Golden Age Drama (the genre in which Sor Juana wrote), weaving an accessible tale of betrayal, desire, mistaken identity, and raw ambition.

“We have the honor of taking the production to perform at the international Spanish Golden Age Drama Festival in El Paso, Texas, on April 19,” Quinlan added. “This will be an incredible experience for the students, and allow us to share the production with a much wider audience.”

The Heresy of Love runs March 31 and April 1 at 7:30 p.m., April 2 at 2 p.m., and April 4-8 at 7:30 p.m. All performances are in Westhoff Theatre.

For tickets or more information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online by visiting Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and Illinois State University faculty and staff. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 W. Beaufort St., Normal.