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A Script for The Lieutenant Nun

The following script has been written only for this project. It summarises the main parts of de Erauso's life and highlights the important costume changes. 

Dressed as Nun, Catalina de Erauso introduces herself and updates us on her life so far. The dialogue is given conversationally. A relaxed tone as if catching your friend up on a detailed story you’ve been wanting to tell them.



It’s just before the start of a new century, the year 1600, and here I am standing in the convent contemplating the vows I am about to make to God. I am about 15 now and have lived in San Sebastian all my life. My parents sent me to this convent when I was 4. My aunt is the prioress here. 

It is nearly the end of my novitiate and my aunt calls me over in the choir room. She asks me to fetch her breviary from her room and I run to fetch it with her keys in my hand. I get there and see my aunt has the keys to the convent hanging from her wall. (PAUSE) I head back to my aunt and before I give her the keys I tell her I’m feeling very unwell all of a sudden. She rests her hand on my forehead and sends me to bed to rest. 

I make my way back to her room instead and collect the convent keys. I also pick up some scissors, a needle and thread and pieces of eight that I see lying in her room. And just like that I flee. 


Whilst talking, begin transitioning outfits from Nun to Man.


I hide away in San Sebastian for 3 days and begin cutting my own suit of clothes.“With the blue woolen bodice I had made a pair of breeches, and with the green petticoat I wore underneath, a doublet and hose - my nun’s habit was useless and I threw it away, I cut my hair and threw it away...” as well. 

I’m disguised as a man now and I make my way successfully to Vitoria without anyone recognising me. 

Over the next few years I find various work with all sorts of people taking me around different towns and cities. (As if trying to recall from a long list) I work as a student, a page, a cabin boy... I got arrested too. Oh and I even returned to San Sebastian for a little while and was completely unrecognised and was simply accepted as a well dressed bachelor. I’m using a new name now too. 

I end up travelling around Panama, Puerto Rico, and other various countries for a while and I sign up to the army to fight in Chile. We spend 20 days at sea and receive our orders from the Captain and his secretary. It is only when the secretary states his name that I realise he is my brother. Without managing to reveal myself I manage to assure him that we are family. He tells me that the orders we have been given are a nightmare for a soldier and he sorts out a reassignment for me to become his personal soldier.

During this assignment I get into a sticky situation involving my brother's mistress… I hide safely in a church and my brother arranges a 3 year banishment to Paicabí.

The governor arrives and I join the army and head back for Chile to fight. During the battle I see the company flag taken and I chase after it. I try and ignore the bad blow to my leg and the three arrows I have attained along with a bad shoulder wound… I successfully retrieve the flag and I take it back. 


Whilst talking, transitions from MAN to LIEUTENANT.


As my wounds are tended to and I’m recovering I receive a post as Lieutenant as a reward for collecting the flag. I head to Concepción once I’ve healed but “But Chance toyed with me, turning my every scrap of luck into disaster.”

I head to a gambling house and there’s a tiny misunderstanding… which ends with me stabbing a man right through his chest…

My brother comes to my assistance and tells me to run to a church. I hide here for 6 months whilst petitions of good words are provided from friends I have gained over the years to help soften my situation. Thankfully for me, it works and I am set free. 

At some point in the months after this my friend, Juan de Silva, comes and asks for my help. He has got into his own sticky situation that is being settled by a duel and he begs me to be his second… I agree.

The duel takes place at night and I myself and the opponents second end up having to step in. I strike his second and he cries out and falls. I immediately recognise his voice and go to his side and ask his name… He is my brother. I run to a church immediately and after a few months I hear my brother was tended to but didn’t get better. I watch his funeral from one of the windows in the church.


A friend promises me safety and I manage to escape the punishments of my crimes once again. Over the next few years my bad luck continues. I am nearly married twice, imprisoned many times. I was punished with hanging but managed to plead my case only to have a noose around my neck shortly after and am only just saved by a messenger who holds release papers for my name.


Whilst talking, transitions from LIEUTENANT to NUN. 


Shortly after being saved from the rope I get into an awful fight. I am imprisoned whilst getting my wounds tended to and I decide to confess my story to the priest at the church. I was on my death bed anyway so it felt like the right time to tell my truth. Eventually, after proving my truth, I find loyalty with a bishop and I return to my habit and finally make my vows to God.


Whilst talking, transitions from NUN to MAN.


I make my way back to Spain, disguising myself as a male again. I end up explaining my story to the King who gives me a large pension as thanks for my service to my home country. I then head to Rome too, on a kind of Pilgrimage, and I kiss the Pope’s feet. I briefly tell my story and he gives me permission to dress in male clothing. I do this for the rest of my days.

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