Week One of the creation of Marat/Sade.
As I begin to delve into the historical background of the play, I’ve began reading A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens. Yes. I haven’t read it since junior high school, I’m sure. What am I to gain, I’m eager to find out.
But I’d say the opening lines do set the tone nicely. And if I read them closely – how they mirror what is happening today.
“IT was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way
— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Marat/Sade makes these same claims, only more harshly. I think the audience will have to ask themselves if they really want to go on this ride.
The Guillotine materializes coldly:
“It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history.”
It is fitting that our first cast picture includes our new friend.
I arrived for our first rehearsal and our director yells: “Scott! Get in the Guillotine!”
“We do this for all of our new family members!”
I get onto the plank and my head is locked into place. A basket with a grotesque head staring back at me as I’m secured. A wooden board cut and painted like a sharp blade hangs above me. Our lighting director Nick, hangs onto the rope that he will let loose. He yells:
The blade drops and is stopped briefly above my neck. Various yells erupt.
“Welcome to Thrillpeddlers, Scott!”
I love these people already.