A Revolutionary Look at Feminism from the Reign of Terror to Riot Girrrls
The University of Idaho Department of Theatre Arts presents Lauren Gunderson’s, “The Revolutionists,” via Zoom, Oct. 23 - Nov. 1. In addition to the livestream performances, Rebecca Scofield from the History Department will host a lecture entitled, “No One Writes Me Down: Feminist Movements and the Heroes of History” at 5 p.m., Oct. 22, with a focus on feminism and its evolution through the lens of “The Revolutionists.”
An Exploration of Sisterhood, Feminism and Revolution
An empowering comedic quartet exploring sisterhood, feminism, and “revolution for all,” “The Revolutionists” looks at four unexpected allies at the peak of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror and asks the audience to question what is it that makes a revolution a revolution? The stakes are high as the guillotine rises over the characters, ready to fall at any moment. Even though the characters endure racism, sexism, violence, greed, poverty, and more, they find moments of laughter as they seek connections across difference.
Old is New Again
Director Carly McMinn, a second-year Master of Fine Arts candidate in the theatre program, believes that although the events of the play take place in late 18th-century France, the play is really about our current moment.
“The themes in this play outlast the time period it is set in…there is still so much work to be done,” McMinn said. “As we have moved through time, the fight for equality for women has had to evolve and adapt to new times and new [systems of] oppression,” she said.
From the French Revolution to Riot Grrrls
McMinn took a postmodern approach to the play, with the introduction of pastiche and parody into her directorial concept as well as in conversations with designers. Pastiche, as seen in both the direction and design of the play, blends a patchwork of artistic aesthetics from a range of eras, (the French Revolution to the present) and the resulting style serves to locate women’s rights movements as part of one continuous struggle against oppression. The production tackles more than just feminism in the French Revolution. Each of the characters are representative of the different waves of feminism; we see the courageous women demanding the right to vote, we see the working class mother fighting for equal wages, we see the Riot Grrrls of the 90s reclaiming their bodies, and we are left on our own to imagine what could be next. After all, this play is just the beginning of a story.
“We need to acknowledge as a society that our system is broken and it’s time to take ownership of that and make change,” McMinn said, “learn from our past and try a new plan of attack.”
By Kaytlyn Harris, Dramaturg for “The Revolutionists”
Second Year Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate, Department of Theatre Arts, University of Idaho