The Revolutionists – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

A quartet of women band together to support one of their own, a playwright Olympe De Gouges, as she struggles to capture the female perspective on France’s Reign of Terror. West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park will expose the inhumanities that threaten the female throats and hearts of each woman as it presents “The Revolutionists” by Lauren Gunderson until Sunday, March 10.

This true story and its fictionalized chapters bring the audience to the 1793 French Revolution where Olympe De Gouges, a fiery Rebecca Hart, is poised to write a profound epic, if she could only find the perfect words.

She is joined in her attempts by a trio who share her deep concerns and want to aid her in her fight. Marianne Angells, a sympathetic Erin Roche, represents the French colonies in the Caribbean, who are also seeking a democracy that abolishes slavery.

Add to this mix, the warrior Charlotte Corday, a knife yielding Olivia Jampol, who is committed to murdering the Jacobin journalist Jean-Paul Marat. Completing the foursome is the towering hair figure of Marie-Antoinette, a queenly Jennifer Holcombe, who is intent on surviving one more day and delaying the fate that calls her name.

Olympe has already penned her 1791 “Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizens” and Marianne urges her to write pamphlets for their cause. But Olympe is committed to her play, believing if she can get a title for it, it will literally write itself. In the name of liberty, these four humorously and poignantly stick their necks way out for their principles. Sarah Hartman directs this foray into the annals of history as it resonates its message to fight for what you strongly believe.

For tickets ($30-40), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., followed by a talkback with the cast.

Witness how the sisterhood of women set out to end the chaos of a frightening world, even though they will not live to see the changes. Bring along a long red ribbon so you will feel sympathy with the cast as they face their bloody end.

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