Feeling that the circumstances around the French Revolution started to feel more like modern America in terms of the extremism, playwright Lauren Gunderson decided to address that them "and also have a good time and have some fun with feminism and sisterhood."
The result is a re-imaging of a time during the Reign of Terror in France. The play unites four women trying to counter the craziness – playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, activist Marianne Angelle, and former queen Marie Antoinette (and yes you read that correctly).
“Marie, we catch her right as she has been dethroned, a couple months before her untimely end,” says Gunderson who describes The Revolutionists as “a ferocious comedy” set in 1793.
Houston's Main Street Theater will be only the third theater In the country to produce this new work; it had great success with Gunderson's Silent Sky last season. Olympe de Gouges is the hero of the story and in real life was one of the first feminists, Gunderson says. “She's this incredible figure that[gave me]a way to talk about a lot of things I care about.”
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As for Corday: “She's this amazing person who killed [Jacobin leader] Jean-Paul Marat, with a steak knife. She's this incredible assassin who's this young fiery woman and I thought 'you belong in a play.'”
Angelle, the Caribbean woman, is an amalgam of several people who were fighting for freedom for Haiti from the French at the same time the French Revolution was going on.
Directed by Andrew Ruthven, the play stars Bree Welch, Shannon Emerick, Molly Searcy and Callina Situka. And, of course, given the time period, there will be guillotines and beheadings.
Performances are scheduled for September 3 through October 2 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at. Main Street Theater - Rice Village, 2540 Times. $36-$39.