Stage: A Look at Violence, Sex and the French Revolution
Audience members at the
production of Marat/Sade, which opens Friday, March
1, should expect
to be brought into the environment of a juvenile detention
center, the setting for the play.
Performances are March 1 and
2, and 7 through 9, all at 8 p.m. in Hallie Flanagan Studio
Theatre, Mendenhall Center.
A scene from Marat/Sade.
Marat/Sade is an exploration
of class, madness, sexuality, violence and revolution (just
to name a few.) The play tells the story of a group of inmates
in post-revolutionary France who perform a narrative of the
revolution—filled with grizzly violence and biting truth.
Through the lens of theatre, and both its transformative
and destructive powers, this gripping story unfolds.
shortened title for The Persecution
and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the
Inmates of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de
Sade—made waves when
it debuted on the world stage in the mid-1960s. Exploring
themes of violence, mental illness imprisonment and torture,
the play was immediately controversial and described by Peter
Brook, director of the famous RSC Production, as “designed
to crack the spectator on the jaw, then douse him with ice-cold
water, then force him to assess intelligently what has happened
to him then give him a kick in the balls, then bring him
back to his senses again.”
In the Smith production, directed
by Emma Weinstein ’13, the play is set in a
Juvenile Detention Center for Girls, with an all-female cast of actors.
“I want to explore the ways in which women relate to political revolution and
violence, not just as victims but as perpetrators, participants, and philosophers,” Weinstein
says. The play will be an immersive experience for the audience, starting with
their entrance to the theater through the loading dock and passing through prison
checkpoints upon arrival.
The play is also a musical,
with a full score and on-stage instrumentation. “The music hits us on a different level,” describes Weinstein. “It
opens us up, it makes our hearts pound, it makes us laugh—music is vital to the
Tickets for Marat/Sade are
$8, &5 for students and seniors; , at the
theater box office, or at the door.
Emma Weinstein is a theater
major, graduating with an emphasis in directing. She is co-president
of the Student Theatre Committee and has directed numerous
productions at Smith, including a department production of
Private Lives by Noel Coward and the Student Theatre Production
of Tis of Thee last fall. Emma attended the National Theatre
Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre
Center, where she co-directed the final project, an adaptation
of Waiting for Lefty, inspired by the Occupy Movement and
generated by a 32-person ensemble. Emma has assisted numerous
directors; interned at La Muse Artist’s Retreat in Carcassonne,
France; has been a member of the New Generation Theatre Ensemble
for 8 years; and attended LaMama’s International Directors
Symposium in Italy. Raised in New York City and Los Angeles,
Emma has also interned at the Chicago Director’s Lab,
Chester Theatre, and is currently the Publicity and Marketing
Intern for the Smith College Theatre Department.