The University of SC Dept. of Theatre and Dance will present The Revolutionists, a raucously comic and feminist take on the French Revolution, February 6-17, 2019 at the Center for Performance Experiment.
The Revolutionists will be presented in alternating repertory with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot on the following dates and times: February 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 & 14 at 8pm, and February 16 & 17 at 3pm.
History becomes “herstory” in The Revolutionists, as a disparate band of courageous women find themselves working together in a shared
fight for liberté, égalité, and sororité. Set during the French Revolution’s Reign
of Terror, playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and
fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder
Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This funny, fresh
and wholly irreverent comedy by award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson (named the
most-produced playwright in the country in 2017) brings the past into sharply relevant
focus in a story that boldly explores how art and activism can intersect to make history.
“…an astoundingly accomplished show… Ingeniously conceived and delivered.”
While the scenario Gunderson presents is fictional, her characters and their causes have very real basis in historical fact. Central character Olympe de Gouge was one of the few female playwrights of the time, and a true political revolutionary who argued for the equal rights of women. Charlotte Corday was the actual assassin of Jean Paul Marat, one of the thought leaders of the revolution. Marie Antoinette, of course, was the soon-to-be-deposed Queen of France. The character of Marianne de Angelle, while invented by the playwright, is based on historical figures from the slave uprising in French-controlled Haiti that happened concurrently with the French Revolution.
“These women are trying to find their way to fight the good fight and figure out what that ‘good fight’ actually is,” says director Marybeth Gorman Craig. “As they face what seems like their inevitable deaths, they go to Olympe to write them into history so that their work is not forgotten.”
Her characters’ trajectories might be deadly serious, but the script aims resolutely for an entertaining -- and contemporary -- theatrical experience.
“Gunderson writes about big ideas in very funny, relatable ways,” says Craig. “The women use language that feels more like edgy, rebellious banter between Tina Fey and Amy Pohler rather than the dusty dialogue we might assume we’d hear from luminaries from history. It mixes thoughtful insight and themes, humor, and theatrical elements, which are all the ingredients I need for a perfect play.”
“These women are struggling with how to be activists in a world that needs them, even while it ignores them—and many of us feel that now. Gunderson has written a play that activates this idea through four very compelling women representing four different perspectives, in a very funny, entertaining way.”
Appearing in The Revolutionists are first-year MFA Acting students Leslie Valdez (Olympe), Iullia Khamidullina (Charlotte), and Jennifer Sanchez (Marie), and guest artist Leslie Ivery (Marianne). Designers for the production are MFA Design students Nate Terracio (scenic), Allison Newcombe (lighting), and Kennedy Roberts (costume). Sound design is by instructor Danielle Wilson. Undergraduate theatre major Charlotte Zuraw is stage managing the production.
For more information about The Revolutionists or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803.777.9353 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.