"Why Do Saints Have to Suffer?"

By Lou Campbell

Filmed conceptual drag performance

"Why Do Saints Have to Suffer?" is a filmed drag exploration of Joan of Arc, reimagined as a Trans Saint. The piece explores similar ideas and themes as a separate project Lou is currently writing that will become a three part stage play entitled The Holy Ones. The piece is about Trans and Gender non-conforming saints and religious figures across several historic periods. For LUCID, Lou tried out costume design and creation for the first time.

Concept and co-design: Lou Campbell

Mentorship and co-design: Diego Cavedan

Makeup artist: Chris Cochrane

Filming, video direction and editing: Tyler Simmonds

Lighting: Matt Downey

Video Description

Music Video featuring Lou Campbell's work "Why Do Saints Have To Suffer?". Video begins with the image of moonlit ocean waves. Lou's voice can be heard reciting the following: "They say your heart wouldn't burn, so it was thrown into the river sien, along with your ashes, which were carried out on the current. By the time you made it out to sea, you woke up here in the afterlife. Welcome Joan to eternity. Find your place in it, show the earthly realm who you really are". As the poem ends, the music comes up and the image fades to Lou's face in their Joan costume as they begin to lip sync to Joan of Arc On The Dance Floor  by Aly & AJ against a black wall. When the song ends the screen goes black and Lou's voice is heard and says, "They say a saint has to suffer for their faith, even die for it. Joan had faith that the truth of who they were was what God wanted for them." The text on the black screen reads: ["For nothing in the world will I swear not to arm myself and wear a man's dress" - Joan of Arc, The Trial 1431.] The end of the video is a black screen with white text that reads: [Why Do Saints Have to Suffer?]

Sybil Thorndike, Lou’s great grandmother, as Joan. She was the first woman to play her in the George Bernard Shaw version of the play in 1923. Joan of Arc has always played a role in Lou’s family lore.

“Transgender Warriors” by Leslie Feinberg was the starting source of research and inspiration for The Holy Ones.

The original first sketch for the costume for Why do Saints Have to Suffer? by Diego Cavedon


Lou Campbell (they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, NS. Their practice traverses many mediums including performance, clown, stand-up, drag, poetry, and sound art. They create work that unpacks the inner workings of their own experiences, usually manifesting in the open sharing of mortifying past mistakes. They also co-run a cross-province collective based in Toronto and Halifax called Probably Theatre. This collective creates performance work devised from poetry, and runs events and exhibitions that facilitate the creation of new work by other artists. In their spare time they like to swim, craft, collage, and watch terrible teen television.

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