Theatre dept. press release

A scene from Marat/Sade.

A scene from Marat/Sade.

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.

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.

Marat/Sade—the 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 revolution.”

Tickets for Marat/Sade are $8, &5 for students and seniors; available online, at the theater box office, or at the door.

Emma Weinstein ’13

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.