July 31, 2012

Marat/Sade



Recently, a friend visiting from Switzerland very casually mentioned to me that he was going to see the play, "Marat/Sade".  After I peeled myself down from the ceiling, I screamed, "I have to see it, too!", and did just that. To understand why, read "20,000 Vinyl LPs 5: Marat/Sade".

The play (the full title of which is, "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"), was presented at the Brava Theatre (the old York Theater on 24th Street in the Mission) by San Francisco producer Marc Huestis and Russell Blackwood with his company, Thrillpeddlers.

(click on any image to see larger size)
Thrillpeddlers ad for Marat/Sade

After listening to the recording of the play for almost fifty years I had established images in my mind of what the play should look like. The set by James Blackwood fit them perfectly as did the wild costumes by Beaver Bauer and alice cunt (?). The production more than fulfilled my mind's images. They were surreal, vivid and fantastic! I was a very happy man. 

The performances of the actors were intense, riveting and everything one could wish for.

cast and musicians

Bonnie Suval                                       Jeff Garrett
(Charlotte Corday)                   (Marquis De Sade)
and Aaron Malberg                                             ~
(Marat)                                                                ~
photos by Daniel Nicoletta


 Bonni Suval (left)               Rumi Missabu (right)
photos by Daniel Nicoletta
 
The instrumentation was delightful and well done featuring a trumpet (with some fancy footwork), a recorder, a horn of some kind, a drum, a tambourine, a clarinet and keyboard played by Richard "Scrumbly" Koldewyn. The refrain of the key song succinctly tells the theme of the play:

Marat we're poor and the poor stay poor
Marat don't make us wait any more

We want our rights and we don't care how
We want our revolution NOW!


Ummmmmm . . . .

There is a video of Judy Collins singing the song on YouTube.

During the intermission I kibitzed in the lobby with Tom Orr who played the role of Kokol. 

 Tom Orr
photo by Styrous®

Curtain call by the Thrillpeddlers troupe
photo by Styrous®

After the show I found Rumi Missabu (who played Jacques Roux) in front of the theater enjoying a post-performance cigarette, so, we chatted for a bit. He and the other actors had done a fantastic job of establishing the feeling of insanity/genius for the production. 


Rumi was an original member of the Cockettes and is now their archivist. Videos of him can be seen on YouTube. I remember seeing the Cockettes sometime in the seventies at the Palace Theater in North Beach. I saw a couple of their shows but the only one I remember is their last one, "Journey to the Center of Uranus". Divine was in that show. Who could forget Divine of "Pink Flamingos" fame? Or her wonderfully raspy voice belting out the disco "hit", "You Think You're a Man"? "Man" can be seen on YouTube".

Selections from the play can also be seen on YouTube.

The production ran from July 13 - 29, 2012.
Previews were on July 11 & 12, 2012.

What a once in a lifetime experience it was, literally. My thanks to all who brought this fantastic adventure to life.
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Styrous® ~  July 31, 2012


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