Saturday, July 21, 2012

Marat/Sade at La Brava

The Thrillpeddlers have revived the 1960s theatrical sensation "Marat/Sade" at the La Brava Theatre on 24th Street in the Mission. The playwright, Peter Weiss, was a very serious German Jewish refugee from the 1930s whose family bounced from Switzerland to London to Sweden, where they settled. The play, set in an early 19th century French insane asylum, is designed to be a little bit Brecht/Weill and a little bit Antonin Artaud by way of Pirandello.

There is also a lot of long speechifying between the Marquis de Sade and a paranoid inmate impersonating the French revolutionary Marat in his bathtub prior to his assassination by Charlotte Corday. Actors spouting serious soliloquies about Freedom and Revolution and Blah-Blah-Blah is about as boring for me as a dreary church sermon, so I am not the right person to be writing about this production.

I did admire the sheer insane gusto the entire troupe brought to the production, and particularly enjoyed the show when director Russell Blackwood seemed to be sending up the material.

Happily I am in the minority and most of the critics who went to the press opening were fairly rapturous. Robert Avila in the San Francisco Bay Guardian loved it. So did Lily Janiak at the San Francisco Weekly. Not to mention Richard Dodds at the Bay Area Reporter.


sfwillie said...

Dear Michael,

imho Marat/Sade is a great work of musical theater.

You didn't mention other exposures... Did you NOT enjoy the movie?!!

My guess is this was simply a crappy production.

Have you seen others?

Civic Center said...

Dear Willie: Never saw it in any of its previous incarnations before. Glad to hear you're a fan.

Civic Center said...

Dear Willie: I actually rather enjoyed the production (the play, not so much). You might want to check it out this weekend.