Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jason watches the Thrillpeddlers do Marat/Sade

I've been a fan of the Thrillpeddlers since back when they were doing their Shocktoberfest show at the old Odeon Bar at the intersection of Mission and Valencia (yes, go down far enough and these parallel streets meet.) I was thrilled when they got their own space--The Hypnodrome, a cozy little place under the freeway for their Grand Guignol and Theatre of the Absurd happenings. But lately they're shows have been so popular that while it's still relatively easy to get tickets you do have to plan in advance. It's not so easy to just show up on the day of the show and get a ticket.

So I'm extra thrilled that their latest show (only one more performance on Sunday evening--last chance everyone!) is in the much larger and beautiful Brava Theater. And I'm extra impressed that they had a pretty full house last Friday (not quite sold out, but pretty darn full.)

And the show certainly deserved such a large crowd. It's their take on Peter Weiss' MARAT/SADE (English translation by Geoffrey Skelton,) full title: 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. 

So the actors have the chaotically free experience of playing insane people playing roles in a play (complete with an on-stage audience of the director of the asylum and two lovely high society ladies.) Marat is played by a paranoiac, his assassin Charlotte Corday is played by a narcoleptic, her completely platonic friend is played by a sex addict. And various other inmates make up the supporting cast and band. And, of course, it's all overseen by the infamous Marquis de Sade. 

Of course, the premise of insanity allows the inmates to freely deviate from the script and spout their own banned opinions, while the asylum director runs on stage to protest such indecency and force the proceedings back on track. 

Never lost is the fact that modern day questions of revolution, human rights, the plight of the poor, and class conflicts are really behind everything. Although never mentioned in the play, the set design is full of references to modern American politics, including Paul Ryan, Gingrich, the Tea Party, and Obamacare. And so little bon mots like, "My patriotism is bigger than yours" ring true to life today. Or even, "You can't have a revolution without a little general copulation" (leading into the orgy scene featuring plenty of nudity.) And the final call to take a side and take action is easily applicable to modern life. Heck, I want my rights and I don't care how. Give me the revolution...NOW!

One more chance for you all to see this. Tickets here.

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