At the start of the 17th century, the French provincial town of Loudun is shaken by a wave of hysteria: the local nun Jeanne des Anges claims she is possessed by the devil. Soon her seventeen fellow nuns are affected by the same demon – one that climbs over the convent walls at night with obscene intent. The nuns all point the finger at the progressive, sexually promiscuous priest Urbain Grandier.
This accusation marks the start of one of the most infamous witch trials in history. Loudun becomes the scene of a grand political theatre; both the accused Grandier and the nuns become actors in a legal spectacle that addresses brand-new societal issues.
Krapp wants to break open this historical case and use it as the basis for a new theatre performance. The Devils / Les Diables takes the form of a modern trial, with the audience serving as a public jury. This jury is confronted with a society in the midst of a crisis of faith, where fear and doubt seep into the cracks that form in the old, monolithic truths.
Right at this time of major change – of scientific revolution, emerging enlightened thinking, growing atheism and feminist emancipation – forgotten devils re-emerge, stronger, more powerful and more conservative than ever before.
In Dutch / 90 minutes