By Doug Wright

Directed by David M. Jenkins

Extended! Oct. 20 – Nov. 13, 2011

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $24.50

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Super acting ...The Marquis de Sade is Wright's anti-hero, and he's portrayed by a splendid actor, Giles Davies, supported by a solid group of players in Jobsite's account of the infamous sexual adventurer's final days in an insane asylum in 1807." – St. Petersburg Times
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Perversion. Pleasure. Pain. They soak the tales that drip from the ink-laden quills of the notoriously irreverent Marquis de Sade. Doctor Royer-Collard, head of Charenton Asylum, is visited by Renee Pelagie, wife of the asylum’s most notorious inmate. Furious that her husband’s sadomasochistic pornography has tarnished her reputation, she offers the Doctor any amount of money, if only her husband can be kept from writing.

After confiscating the Marquis’ quills and paper, the Abbe de Coulmier is surprised to find lascivious new stories circulating in public. The source? A lusty young seamstress has been smuggling material out of the asylum. Immediately, the Abbe bars the girl from seeing the Marquis, but ever resourceful, the Marquis pens his stories on his bedclothes in wine, blood and worse. Driven to a fury, the Abbe strips bare the Marquis and his cell, leaving nothing but stone and straw.

Undaunted, the Marquis devises a fantastic plan to whisper his stories from lunatic to lunatic, until the girl can pen the Marquis’ grisly tale. As the Abbe’s religious devotion clashes with the Marquis’s dedication to freedom of expression, the audience is treated to a tale of wit and irony, blasphemy and philosophy. Doug Wright’s remarkable work forcefully challenges themes of censorship, power, and extreme measures of rehabilitation


Quills theatrically depicts the last days of the infamous Marquis de Sade in the Charenton Asylum. It intensely examines, though often through dark humor, aspects of human sexuality, censorship, and art. It contains graphic verbalized sexual imagery culled from his writings, staged violence and nudity. It is only for adult audiences and is not for the squeamish or easily offended.

We recommend researching the play further if you are concerned that the material would not be suitable for you or anyone in your party. This is not a staged version of the film, which was based on the play and in many respects is not as provocative as the live experience.

Giles Davies in Jobsite's Quills. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)

Doug Wright's raffish new comedy, part theater of the ridiculous, part comedy of manners and part Grand Guignol, successfully blends intentional archness, grotesque exaggeration and bold humor to create a theatrical experience of real wit.

Exuberant theater-making… gory, depraved, revolting and – uh-oh – sentimental. On top of all that, the play has something to say about censorship and what happens when you try to suppress art… Smirky, gross-out fun with a purpose. It's an amazing show.

Cunningly structured and gorgeously written, with every phrase turned to a high, gleaming polish. Quills is a superb piece of writing.



Productions explore darkness and normality – Tampa Tribune

Quills – Creative Loafing

Cast & Crew

  • David M. Jenkins – Director
  • Miriam Rochford – Stage Manager


  • Giles Davies – The Marquis
  • Jon Gennari – Mssr Prioux / Lunatic
  • Matt Lunsford – Abbe de Coulmier
  • Owen Robertson – Dr. Royer-Collard
  • Nicole Jeannine Smith – Madeleine Leclerc / Madame Royer-Collard
  • Katrina Stevenson – Renee Pelagie


  • Danika Bartsh – Intern
  • Bridgette Dreher – Scenic Artist
  • Christen Hailey – Props / Special Effects
  • David M. Jenkins – Sound Designer
  • Greg Newcomb – Poster Artist
  • Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic and Lighting Designer
  • Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer

Patron Reviews

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