Falcon’s Eye Theatre’s production of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (Marat/Sade) is a stunning, innovative and powerful presentation. In their staging of playwright Peter Weiss’ play-within-a-play, director David Harris and designer Ian Wallace create a captive audience whose members are led through the asylum’s visitor’s center and ultimately into the bowels of the madhouse.
The audience members—limited to 50 people per performance—never enter the actual Falcon’s Eye Theater space, but instead are directed down a hallway and presented with visitors’ badges. They eventually find themselves in an insane asylum waiting room. The audience is seated along the wall while watching the glass-enclosed, imprisoned patients present their play about the bloody revolutionary propagandist Jean-Paul Marat, directed by the notorious libertine Marquis de Sade.
While keeping to the play’s theme of examining the issues of class and repression that was the French Revolution, as well as the debate between Marat and the marquis about personal versus societal changes, the creative team also incorporates modern issues that mirror the current divisive political climate. It’s an amazingly creative and all-encompassing theatrical experience, enhanced by imaginative sets, costumes and lighting.
The two main characters are strongly portrayed by Brennan Villados as Marat and Steven Minow as Sade, backed up by equally talented cast that includes a chorus of deranged prisoners. This is a unique production not to be missed.