BWW Review: THE REVOLUTIONISTS at Tempe Center For The Arts
Theatre is meant to leave the audience inspired and hoping for a better world despite the turmoil that exists. The Revolutionist does not disappoint in this regard. This well-written, sharply directed, yet simple production is visually stunning, hilarious, and poignant. While the representation of the characters is heavily stylized, the result is a raucous good time with the perfect balance of drama.
The Revolutionists, written by Lauren Gunderson, presents the story of playwright, Olympe de Gouges, and her relationship to other French revolutionaries, Charlotte Corday, Marie Antoinette, and Marianne Angelle. Each of these women left their mark on the French Revolution and this play serves to inspire those who desire to make positive change.
As Olympe de Gouges, Maren Maclean Mascarelli is divine. She has a commanding stage presence, excellent comedic timing, and handles the heavy moments with grace and sincerity. Olympe de Gouges may not be a household name, but Maren's performance is enough to fill anyone with the desire to find out about this courageous woman and be as brave and antagonistic as she.
Lucy Atkins plays Charlotte Corday who assassinated Jean-Paul Marat. Lucy presents Charlotte with plenty of spunk, energy, and the right amount of crazy to allow the audience to not only sympathize with her, but to cheer her on in her plan to murder Marat to protect those whom he deemed expendable.
Marie Antoinette is presented as a sympathetic character by Shae Kennedy Leonard. She brings plenty of comedic relief to the proceedings, but is also involved in some of the most poignant moments of the show. Leonard brings a refreshing humanity to an otherwise flawed character and allows the audience to see Antoinette as a mother, friend, and confidant.
As the moral center of the play, Sasha Wordlaw, plays Marianne Angelle who is fighting for the freedom of slaves in French Saint-Domingue. Angelle is not a historical figure, but exists to bring attention to the plight of the slaves living in Haiti during the Revolution. Wordlaw is exquisite. She is powerful and resolute, but also presents the heartache her character experiences with expertise.
The cast is phenomenal. The chemistry the actors share is undeniable. There are moments that leave the audience cheering in defiant solidarity, and simple, quiet moments that remind the audience that sacrifice is a part of revolution.
Directed by Debra K. Stevens, the space is used well, bringing the audience into the action. The technical elements and the scenery are simple, but chillingly effective. The production is absolutely stunning. The Revolutionists runs through December 15 at Tempe Center for the Arts produced by The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre. While it is not a musical about the French Revolution and there are no puppets, it is an excellent production and should not be missed.
For tickets, follow this link: https://tca.ticketforce.com/?search=marie
Photo Credit: Laura Durant