Saturday, July 20, 2019
‘The Revolutionists’ Offers a Revolution with a Women’s Touch
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Aly Wepplo as assassin Charlotte Corday gets downright giddy about that knife in her hand.
 
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SPOT

The Revolution has begun—at The Spot, that is.

And, in the new play “The Revolutionists,” the Reign of Terror is presented as comedy. Albeit comedy with lots of thought provoking questions.

 
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Yanna Lantz’s Marie Antoinette evokes thought of Barbie dolls at times.
 

The Spot rolled out the play by Lauren Gunderson, the most performed playwright of the past two years, this past week to a full house.

It’s a high-energy play full of swashbuckling verbal repertoire and zingy one-liners. And those who would like to get in on the volley have one more week to do so before the play concludes Saturday, Feb. 2.

The play imagines a meeting between four women during France’s Reign of Terror, which took place during 1793 and 1794.

Feminist playwright Olympe de Gouges, played by Ingrid Werner, addressed slavery, long before most. She wrote the 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen. And she devised a social contract outlining gender equality in marriage.

 
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Savina Barini, as a Haitian revolutionary, is the voice of reason when it comes to the anxiety attacks evidenced by Ingrid Werner’s Olympe de Gouges.
 

Assassin Charlotte Corday, portrayed by Aly Wepplo, was nicknamed “the Angel of Assassination” for stabbing a hated Jacobin leader as he bathed.

“Let them eat cake” Queen Marie Antoinette, played by Yanna Lantz, ascended the throne at age 18, only to lose her head to the guillotine at 37.

The only fictional character is Marianne Angelle, a Haitian spy fighting for freedom from slavery in France’s Caribbean colonies. Played by Savina Barini, she’s created from a composite of real-life people but somehow seems more real than the rest.

The latter three come to de Gouges, seeking words of wisdom from her as she tries to write a play about women’s roles during a revolution.

Angelle wants her to write pamphlets furthering her cause.

Corday wants a final line to be remembered by as she heads to a fateful encounter with the guillotine after assassinating the journalist she believes responsible for inciting the brutality of the Reign of Terror.

“My actions will be talked about for centuries and I need a line that will sink into their minds,” she states flatly.

And Marie Antoinette, a self-absorbed ditzy blond, wants a rewrite of her story in hopes people will see beyond her miniature mansions scattered around Versailles, her pompadour and her Affair with the Diamond Necklace.

Problem is: Gouges has writer’s block, derived in part by the pressure to write something profound. And she’s a dramatist who’s afraid of drama.

But, as Angelle notes: “If you don’t write it, who will? “They will.”

It’s a play within a play—a play about play making.

As Corday says: “We’re all in a play that someone else is writing.”

The play attempts to address the importance of theater and the arts, even as it presents a glimpse of these women’s role in history. It’s also a play about finding our footing in a world where extremism persists and the balance is off, said Director Natalie Battistone.

“It’s a play that examines the ways in which we strive for the balance. Is it through violence, is it complacency, is it rhetoric, or is it through art?” she added.

DeGouges’ screeching may be a little off-putting during the first part of the play, but Angelle provides a voice of reason that calms the play.

“Be nice to the playwright,” we’re told, “Because she’s putting her life on the line and her pen is sharper than your knife,”

The play features creative costuming and interesting staging, particularly when it comes to the lights-out snatch of the guillotine.

And, in the end, de Gouges proclaims, “A story is what lives.”

“The Revolutionists” runs at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 29, through Saturday, Feb. 2. There’s also a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 2.

The play takes place at The Spot, 220 Lewis St., in Ketchum’s light industrial district. Tickets are $25--$13 for those under 30 with ID, available at www.spotsunvalley.com.

 

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