Coming Soon: The Revolutionists

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Sam White, Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Rehearsals are underway for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s theatre department’s third show of the semester. The show, titled The Revolutionists, follows four women during the reign of terror in France during the end of the 18th century.

Three of the women were actual historical figures, all of whom were executed during the French Revolution. Former queen of France, Marie Antoinette, playwright Olympe de Gouges, and assassin Charlotte Corday. The fourth woman, Marianne Angelle, is a character based on the collective experiences of African American women during that time.

Director Karen M. Dabney explained that the show has a little something for everybody. “It’s a comedy and yet there’s a lot of serious stuff involved. It’s a play, but it has a little bit of music. It’s about sisterhood, rebellion, and the art of making theater,” said Dabney.

Dabney went on to explain that the show is about knowing you are going to die, and deciding the legacy that will be told to future generations. “The play is sort of these characters’ attempts to wield the pen and really decide how they write their own legacies and how they’ll be remembered,” said Dabney.

Although the play takes place in 18th century France, there is a melding of modern and historical elements. While the characters all wear corsets with large dresses, huge wigs, and heels, the language they use is very modern, just four best friends cracking jokes and teasing each other.

Most of the comedy in the show is in the first half. The second half of the show is focused more on the execution of the women. “(It’s) the idea of the tragic comedy. Everything in life is not all tragic or all comedic, our lives are these blends of both, and a lot of times they bleed straight into one another. I think the play does a really good job of showing that,” explained Dabney.

One of the challenges in the show is the small cast. Junior Anna Kral explains that, because there are only 4 people in the show, there is very little time they aren’t onstage. The show lasts about 2 hours and all four women are on stage for the majority of that time. While it can get exhausting, it also allows for some great bonding and teamwork.

“If one of us is having an off night, then we all feel that, and we can all work with that and realize what we need to change and do better to help that person have a better night, which is really nice,” said Kral.

Kral hopes that audiences will leave the show with greater respect for historical women.“We should look deeper into history to find these stories of women because they’ve been so overlooked in the past.”

Performance dates for The Revolutionists are December 3-4 and 8-11, at 7:30 p.m. and December 5 and 12, at 2:00 p.m.

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