Heretic Links


This two-act satirical comedy, based on an actual historical court case, opens as the prisoner Catharina Linck is led in by her Inquisitor.  The Inquisitor cannot resist delineating Catharina’s crime in a long-winded fashion, but Catharina repeatedly cuts through the Inquisitor’s harping with humor and theatricality, and then takes over the trial.  During the first-act reenactment of how Catharina came to be charged by the Inquisition, Catharina’s adventures in pursuit of the love of women intertwine with her adoption of male garb for protection in this satire of current and historical gender roles.  Striving always to be the center of attention, Catharina enlists in armies and promptly deserts them in the heat of battle, all with the flair of commedia-style physical comedy.  Disguised as a man, she married another woman whom she hopes will adore her forever.  Her wife’s enthusiasm is dampened, however, because Catharina fails to keep a job, preferring repeated baptisms in various religions in order to gain alms money.  Set in the “seemingly unending time of the Inquisition”, issues of gender proscriptions and performance (and sexual performance) are dramatized to engage today’s audiences.


During the second half of the play, Catharina is brought sharply back to the environment of the Inquisition trial.  She takes charge in the examination by a midwife of her “true sex”, and attempts to buy time in the courtroom by conducting cross-examination that incriminates the woman that she “married”.  Catharina’s efforts to forestall the inevitable trial verdict merge with her fantasies of being saved by her mother from execution for military desertion and her recollections of her pitiable childhood in an orphanage.  Yet, the Inquisition systematically disposes of Catharina’s allies, and she alone is left to face the Inquisitorial venom.  The audience has been able to laugh heartily at Catharina’s ridiculous life and the society in which she lived it; yet, the final seconds of the play halt laughter.  The satire and humor of the play are punctuated by the reality of Catharina’s inevitable fate and her courage in the face of it.




Play Structure:

2 Acts: Act I, 9 scenes; Act II, 6 scenes

Cast size:

4 – 8

2 main characters, 2 amalgam characters, 4 optional chorus roles



All female; multi-racial casting acceptable


The seemingly unending time of the Inquisition




One set, a bare stage with removable “bed” and other sparse furniture






Production History


Heretic Links received its premiere production by The Experimental Theatre Project (White Cat Productions) at the Richard Hugo House Theatre in Seattle, Washington, on August 11 – 26, 2006.  The production was sponsored in part by the Washington State Arts Commission.  The play was directed by Teresa Thuman, and was performed by the following cast and crew:




Kayti Barnett


Jenny Schmidt


Jessica Stepka


Amber Zipperer


Louise Penberthy

Yvette Zaepfel


Costume Designer

Teresa Thuman

Set Designer

Katie Lawrence

Props Designer

Michael Mowery

Lighting Designer

Bruce Wheelock

Sound Designer

Regan deVictoria

Light Operator

Bruce Wheelock

Sound Operator

Michael Mowery

Stage Manager

Chryste Call

Production Team

Amanda Askea

Michael Mowery

Poster Design/


Ken Holmes

House Manager

Tim Crist