- A successful historical play by the British dramatist JohnWhiting (1917 - 63), first performed in 1961 by the Royal ShakespeareCompany in London. Based on Aldous Huxley's novel of sexual hysteriaThe Devils of Loudun (1952), the play is set in a 17th-centuryFrench nunnery. Sister Jeanne, the prioress, invites the sensuouspriest Urbain Grandier to become the convent's spiritual adviser:when he declines, the prioress and nuns develop hysterical symptomsand are assumed to have become possessed by demons. After their exorcism,Grandier is condemned, tortured, and executed. Ken Russell's extraordinaryfilm version (1970), a work variously regarded as a lost classic or afarrago of bad taste, is based only looselyon the original play.