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The Revolutionaists

a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Lauren Gunderson

COMPANY : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 4870

SHOWING : March 03, 2016 - March 20, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

A new play by Atlanta native Lauren Gunderson, "The Revolutionists" takes us to 1793 Paris during the Reign of Terror. Heidi S. Howard directs four powerful and provocative Frenchwomen as they tackle gender inequality, racial tension, and rising violent radicalism while facing the guillotine and writing a play of their very own. With cutting edge humor and wit, history is made.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Heidi Howard
Charlotte Corday Rachel Frawley
Marie Antoinette Park Krausen
Olympe de Gouges Stacy Melich
Marianne Angelle Parris Sarter
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REVIEWS

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4-7-5
by playgoer
Sunday, March 20, 2016
5.0
Four stunning actresses treading the boards at 7 Stages in Little Five Points – ah, what a delight! Add in a terrific script by Lauren Gunderson, fluid direction by Heidi S. Howard, a splendid set by Vii Kelly, impressive costumes by DeeDee Chmielewski, evocative lighting by Katherine Neslund, and spare, effective sound design by Dan Bauman and the number of accolades approaches infinity.

The corner stage set-up for "The Revolutionists" is beautifully realized, with a gallows-like platform in back reached by a set of plain wooden stairs, books and papers perched on their ends of the treads. The walls of the stage contain banners of revolutionary feminist declarations in a mixture of French and English. The ceiling contains a few chandeliers, echoed in the crystals hanging from chains under the platform. The floor is beautifully painted in cobblestones, with a brick border. And surrounding the audience are enormous pencil-like sketches representing a French public gathering place. The space quite simply transports one to 1793’s France.

Costumes and wigs set the time and place too. Marie Antoinette’s wig towers and her costume holds never-ending streams of ribbons and even a trinket. Olympe de Gouge’s wig is less flamboyant (but not by much), and her outfit pairs a period top with a pantaloon-like bottom, showing her as something close to a liberated woman. Marianne’s iconic dress with sash marks her as a free black woman of revolutionary ideals. Charlotte Corday is garbed more simply, but with a cascade of curls and décolletage that make her perhaps more stunning in her simplicity.

For all the period setting, Ms. Gunderson’s script unabashedly throws in modern touches. The mixture of period and modern sensibilities creates a frisson of intellectual and visceral excitement. With sound and lighting emphasizing the underlying terror of the Reign of Terror, we are simultaneously drawn into the ultimately tragic story of historical figures and allowed to appreciate the comedy of those figures consciously trying to rewrite their lives using the conventions of drama.

The direction and performances can’t be faulted. Rachel Frawley and Park Krausen actually play two roles apiece, with their vocal talents, a dark scrim, and an echoing sound system allowing them to impersonate male interrogators as the women are brought to trial and sentenced to the guillotine. Parris Sarter and Stacy Melich may play only one role apiece, but they impress equally much. As Olympe de Gouges might say (using a turn of phrase that works only in English), they turn history into a breezy, welcoming "hi, story!" [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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