‘Marat/Sade’ features hypnotic, modern feel


Two actors play guards who play characters in a play within a play Oct. 21 at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. Those in the asylum put on a show for the wealthy court of Napoleon.   

By Deanna Frances

School of Theatre and Dance students are putting a contemporary twist on a revolutionary story in the production “Marat/Sade” 7:30 p.m. today at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St.

“Marat/Sade,” written by Peter Weiss, is a play-within-a-play story about inmates in the Charenton Asylum who put on a show for the wealthy court of Napoleon, said director Stanton Davis. Davis said the show adds a contemporary aspect to the ’60s classic by including modern music, characters and dance.

“We decided to cast all of the male roles as female roles, except for the director of the asylum,” Davis said. “We’ve set original music to it, and the songs are both sung and rapped. There’s also dance and miming, so it has a fun and contemporary feel.”

Davis said this show has been a part of his life for years, and when the opportunity arose to perform it at NIU, he knew he wanted to direct.

“I’ve loved this play since I acted in it in college,” Davis said. “It lived in my imagination since then. This one is more current, and it tells a really amazing story. I love theater like that, that pushes boundaries.”

The students have spent the semester rehearsing and creating the set for this show, said scenic designer Pauline Oleksy.

“The director and I have tried to create a set that is very hypnotic,” Oleksy said. “This show is in a world that’s constructed by the actors, and that gave me the freedom to be very abstract with the set.”

Senior acting major Annie Pfohl said playing the lead role of Marquis de Sade has helped her broaden her acting skills.

“This show has been a completely different experience,” Pfohl said. “I’m playing a character that’s brilliant and he’s stuck in a world of crazy. It’s been an amazing experience for me.”