“Sister George” Barrels Her Way Back

The 1968 movie “The Killing of Sister George” was considered too scandalous to play in my small-town cinema, which may be why as a boy I read everything I could about it. Based on a 1964 play by Frank Marcus, the film gave us the cigar-chomping Sister George, played by the inimitable Beryl Reid. George and and her live-in, Childie, are lesbians. Marcus intended the play to be a farce, not a serious treatment of lesbianism, but because there was so little material about lesbians it became treated as such. I raised an eyebrow when I read that a new version of the play, by Jeffrey Hatcher, is playing at the Long Wharf theatre in New Haven, starring Kathleen Turner, which is pretty great casting. Why? Because the word “lesbian” is not mentioned once in the entire write-up about it. Isn’t this 2012? Or has the lesbianism been removed?

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