Abigail Dunagan, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
One of the most important parts of the Berry community is the opportunity to get involved in a variety of rich cultural events. Through acting, directing or watching a performance the theatre department provides unique learning opportunities. Opening last night and running through Sunday, the Berry College Theatre Company will be presenting “The Revolutionists,” a feminist comedy that brings four unlikely women together during the French Revolution. The play was published by American playwright Lauren Gunderson in 2018. The performance is split into two different casts, the Quills and the Ribbons that will perform on alternating nights. The Quills cast focuses on a contemporary costume style, while the Ribbons cast centers around a period style. Each cast has only four characters: the real life Olympe De Gouges, Charlotte Corday, Marie-Antoinette and fictional Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Jennifer Bradford is the director, and chose this play to balance out some of the other plays of the season. The previous performance of “All My Sons” delt with heavier topics, while the “The Revolutionists” is a comedy. The play is double casted, and the decision to split the cast was made by Bradford because performance involves several essential skills such as comedy and rhythm, and she wanted to give the opportunity to eight students instead of four. According to Bradford, the rehearsals have been under a time constraint. Most plays have six weeks to prepare, but this play has only had four weeks due to the academic calendar. Bradford said that when planning the shows for the year, they had to make sure this play would line up to be performed after Mountain Day and before Thanksgiving break. Despite the challenges, Bradford said that the cast has worked well with the tight deadline and double casting.
“I know we have a time constraint, but it just feels so possible,” Bradford said. “Everyone is rising to the challenge. I wouldn’t necessarily double cast every show, but this just made sense to me.”
Junior Mary Claire Page will be playing the role of Marie- Antoinette in the Quills cast. According to Page, this play has been unique to work on because it centers around a small cast of women. Since the show is double cast, Page has not gotten a chance to see the Ribbons cast perform, but both casts will get to see the performances on opening nights. Page said that it takes a lot of energy to perform in a comedy.
“I really like the closeness of the cast, and the play is so funny,” Page said. “We’ve been bouncing off each other really well, and because of that we get to make new discoveries. We get to discover new things about the script, and it’s new and exciting every night.”
Junior Jake Patton is the assistant director, which is his first time in that role. According to Patton, the biggest challenge has been the intensive rehearsal schedule. Rehearsals are held each week from Sunday through Friday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and began on Oct. 16. Although “The Revolutionists” is a comedy, Patton said that he hopes audience members can learn that anyone has the power to write their own story.
“I want them to understand that it is possible to take back your story,” Patton said. “The story that you are telling, and the story that people are telling about you may be two different things, but you have the power to write and tell your own story.”
The show will take place at the Sisters Theatre this week, Wednesday to Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or online at berry.edu/onstage.