by Kendra Plant
Walking Shadow Theatre Company's Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi is well told, beautiful, and relevant. Based on historical events, the script is modern and allows the audience to easily connect with the characters.
White columns fill the stage and behind them, a view of the lush French countryside. The story unfolds around Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, rich, out of touch leaders who seem unable or unwilling to listen to the people they lead. A riot? Those happen everyday, no big deal; please pass the tea. But when the revolution comes, the fate of this family is passed along to the will of the people.
Jane Froiland expertly inhabits the multifaceted character of Marie Antoinette, from her decadent palaces to her ultimate beheading. Marie evolves throughout her ordeals and is at her best when she summons the courage to fight for the safety and well-being of her family. I found myself rooting for this unlikely heroine.
Founding member of Walking Shadow and director of Marie Antoinette John Heimbuch answered a couple of questions for me about the relevance of Marie Antoinette at this particular time and the role of storytelling in helping us reflect on social and political events.
John: We were initially drawn to this play because of how capably it critiques issues of privilege and power in ways that still feel playful and empathetic. That rings true not just for someone of such wealth and opulence as Marie Antoinette, but anyone who wants to enact social change and doesn't want to lose any of their advantages while doing so. In that sense, it made Marie's struggles feel very relatable to anyone living in this era of social upheaval and polarized politics.
In the past few months, the issues of Marie Antoinette have become even more poignant as our nation reels from the impact of wealthy elite leaders, unreliable narratives, taxation and economic reform, unjust proclamations and decrees, people taking to the streets, and a palpable fear of foreign influence in life and politics.
Kendra: What role can history and theater have in helping us reflect upon current social and political events?
John: We are the stories we tell. Humans learn through stories. But all stories are interpretations. So audiences at a show (or readers of history) aren't really learning from the facts—only one author's interpretation of those facts. That's why it's important to consider conflicting narratives and to not just look at the story that the victors tell about what happened, but to try to understand the perspectives and motives of those whom history has vilified. We may not like what we see, but empathy for different perspectives is the only way for us to gain insight into our own foibles. I hope that's what we've done here.
Ticket Information: Marie Antoinette
written by David Adjmi
directed by John Heimbuch
February 10 - March 4, 2017
Marie, the young queen of France, lives in a gold-plated world of extravagance mired in scandal while her people suffer. Will the people accept her lavishness in the face of their despair, or will they rise together to stand against oppression and inequality? Will the people’s revolution change the ways of the elite, or are they doomed by the life they were born into? Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
Friday, February 10 at 7:30 - Opening Night
Saturday, February 11 at 7:30
Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30 - Pay What You Can, ASL
Friday, February 17 at 7:30 - Post-show Discussion
Saturday, February 18 at 7:30
Sunday, February 19 at 2:00 - Audio Described
Thursday, February 23 at 7:30 - Audio Described
Friday, February 24 at 7:30 - Post-show Discussion
Saturday, February 25 at 7:30
Sunday, February 26, 2:00
Wednesday, March 1 at 7:30
Thursday, March 2 at 7:30
Friday, March 3 at 7:30 - Post-show Discussion
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 - Closing night
General Admission Tickets: $26
Students, Veterans, & Active Military Members: $15
2016 Minnesota Fringe button-holders: $18 tickets on February 10, 11, 17, 19, 23, & March 1.
A limited number of $10 Economic Accessibility tickets are available for each performance.
Pay What You Can performance on Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30. ($5 minimum in advance; $1 minimum at the door on space-available basis.)
Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes including one intermission.
Red Eye Theater
15 West 14th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Marie Antoinette - Jane Froiland
Louis XVI - Zach Garcia
Fersen - Derek "Duck" Washington
Lamballe - Teresa Mock
Polignac - Suzie Juul
Emperor Joseph - David Beukema
Sheep - Neal Beckman
Revolutionary - Paul LaNave
Dauphin - Hal Weilandgruber
Director - John Heimbuch
Set - Annie Henly
Costumes - Kathy Kohl
Wigs - Robert A. Dunn
Lighting - Paola Rodriguez
Sound - Michael Croswell
Props - Sarah Salisbury
Stage Manager - Chandler Jordan Hull
Assistant Director - Lauren Jauert