The production of Marat/Sade is the result of three provocative San Francisco institutions coalescing: presenter Marc Huestis, best known for his Castro Theatre events featuring appearances by veteran film stars; Thrillpeddlers and its artistic director Russell Blackwood, known for both their Grand Guignol stagings and revivals of Cockettes musicals; and Brava Theatre, which provides the venue for Peter Weiss’ play in its July 11-29 run. (Tickets available atwww.thrillpeddlers.com.)
Marat/Sade was a London and Broadway sensation in the mid-1960s that offers its own synopsis in its 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.
The Marquis de Sade, who needs no introduction, was in fact incarcerated at Charenton during the last years of his life, where he did stage theatricals with fellow patients. And to refresh your history of the French Revolution, Jean-Paul Marat was famous for inciting violence with his blistering attacks on more cautious revolutionaries, but it was after his influence had waned that a sympathizer of the moderate faction, Charlotte Corday, stabbed him to death while he was bathing at home.
In the Huestis/Thrillpeddlers production, the cast is led by Jeff Garrett as de Sade, Aaron Malberg as Marat, and Bonni Suval as Corday. Marat/Sade is a play with music in a Brechtian fashion, and Scrumbly Koldewyn is providing musical direction. Award-winning costume designer Beaver Bauer is outfitting the cast, which also includes such familiar names as Connie Champagne, Tom Orr, and Birdie-Bob Watt.