Sunday, June 11, 2006


a friend gave me ticket to this play being performed at a small loft space on broadway. i thought it was being played near union square and realized at 700 that i had to go way down broadway south of canal street. I climbed the 5 flights of stairs to sit in a loft with 40 other people and see this interesting and intriging piece of theater...

The complete review's Review:

Marat/Sade -- or The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of Monsieur de Sade, as it is actually titled -- is, of course, one of the more famous plays of recent times. This brilliant play, in which the Marquis de Sade stages scenes from the French Revolution in an insane asylum, is a theatrical marvel.
The play is set in the asylum of Charenton, where the Marquis de Sade is held incarcerated (as, in fact, he was from 1801 to his death in 1814). A play is being presented within the play: the Marquis -- here plain Monsieur de Sade -- has gotten a group of inmates together to "show how Jean-Paul Marat died", a drama showing the last hours of the revolutionary. It is July 13, 1808 (the eve of Bastille Day), and fifteen years have passed since Marat was killed in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday. In their play de Sade and his inmate-players portray the revolutionary times and recreate the infamous murder.
The director of the asylum, Coulmier, brings his family to watch this little entertainment -- one that, unsurprisingly, turns out to be more political than the good director would have hoped, and where matters eventually get quite out of hand as the revolutionary fervor infects the patients. De Sade makes quite a spectacle out of the revolutionary events -- to Coulmier's chagrin -- but offers also philosophical and political musings, engaging the play-Marat in debate and argument. Coulmier continues to insist that times have changed, that things are done differently now; de Sade shows that it is not necessarily so.
A profound meditation on the nature of revolution, on power and its abuses, means and ends, Marat/Sade is also great theater. Weiss has written a marvelous drama here, both entertaining and thoughtful. It is, undoubtedly, one of the great works of the 1960s.