Multi-award-winning designer and director Jaco Bouwer tackles one of the Baxter Theatre Centre’s flagship productions for 2017 – Peter Weiss’s contemporary classic ‘Marat/Sade’ – in the Baxter Flipside from February 23 to March 25, at 7.30pm nightly.
Bouwer has assembled a stellar cast and creative team to bring the play to life. In recent years at the Baxter he directed the award-winning productions ‘Samsa-masjien’, ‘Rooiland’ and ‘Santa Gamka’.
The ensemble of 16 actors is led by Mncedisi Shabangu (‘The Inconvenience of Wings’) as the Marquis de Sade, Charlton George (‘Rooiland’) as Jean-Paul Marat and Tinarie van Wyk Loots (‘The Tempest’) as Charlotte Corday, with Bongile Mantsai (‘Mies Julie’), Zoleka Helesi (‘Mies Julie’), Richard September (‘Rondomskrik’), Andrew Laubscher (‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’) and Marty Kintu (‘Blue Orange’) amongst the supporting players.
Written by German playwright Peter Weiss in 1963, the full title of the play is ‘The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade’, which has been shortened to, and is widely known as, ‘Marat/Sade’.
The story unfolds like a ‘play within a play’ and is set in an asylum in 1808. The Marquis de Sade decides to stage a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday and uses his fellow inmates as the actors. The performance is supervised by the director of the hospital, Monsieur Coulmier who unashamedly supports Napoleon’s government and firmly believes that the play will support his own bourgeois ideas and denounce those of the French Revolution that Marat helped to lead.
However, the patients continue to speak their own words, which clash with those which Coulmier wishes to promote. The Marquis continues to manipulate the situation in his favour, resulting into an orgy of chaos and destruction.
“Weiss had no intention of depicting psychologically realistic characters when he wrote the dialogue for Jean-Paul Marat and his author the Marquis de Sade, but rather he created mouthpieces of two diametrically opposed ideologies,” says Bouwer.
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There is an age restriction of 16 years (nudity).