"The first bit of brilliance attributable to this
Right Brain Project show is that they thought to do it at all... Nathan
Robbel's direction is the second bit of brilliance here. He provides
an exquisitely paced set of explosions, building to a grand, chaotic
display, like the fourth of July. And the large ensemble constitutes brilliant bits three through 30. Mild and grave, an impassive sponge for horror, Chad Gowen Spear makes an near-iconic Marat. And Richard
Peaslee's songs—"We want our rights, and we don't care how" — are as chilling as ever."
Chicago Reader, Best of 2012
"The performance of the play is top notch, with the actors all
playing insanity (the variety of strange mumblings, twitches, and odd
reactions to one another and the play going on as well as the guards
and nuns there to keep things under control is both overwhelming AND
manages to never draw more focus than the play itself) and the
orchestra and choir periodical breaking in. Let it be said that in
many (MANY) Fringe Theater productions the quality of the singing is
generally an afterthought and, as a result, sounds like shit. Not in
this case. Robbel has rightly cast solid vocalists and strong
instrumentalists and they shine. Chad Gowen Spear as Marat is really
excellent (first time I've seen him onstage and his quiet and powerful
portrayal of the revolutionary through the veil of a paranoid
schizophrenic is just solid as a rock) and, while I want more
malevolence from my Marquis de Sade, Vincent Lonergan gives the
Marquis a resigned dignity that understates his natural tendency to
completely disregard a system that has him imprisoned. Greg Wenz
holds things together with his playful but slightly "off" Herald (de
Sade's assistant in keeping things moving along) and is both charming
and a bit unsettling. And the ensemble itself is a huge, moving, breathing, moaning unit... The piece just opened and will have a finite
run and I strongly suggest you get your ass out to the Right Brain
space and see some theater that makes you think."
Don Hall, Angry White Guy in Chicago
29 actors, 21 audience members, a live band, wine, bon-bons, and the Marquis de Sade; the Right Brain Project took the audience on a journey, seven years in the making, to 1808 France in the confines of the Asylum of Charenton. RBP artistic director Nathan Robbel directed this epic event to a limited audience, delivering a feast for all the senses.
Nathan Robbel, speaking about Marat/Sade in 2012: “This play has been digging a hole in my brain since I first encountered it. Its complex themes of man taming nature, violence as a tool, and understanding self before enacting political change are some of the most fascinating and intellectually upsetting I've ever read. Twelve years ago, I read it and nodded my head in agreement with so many of the arguments of Jean-Paul Marat's socialist idioms, and insistence that if man is to survive, it will only be by strict governing that benefits all people. But strangely enough, a decade later, I now find myself agreeing with the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade - that man is ruled by nature and when fighting that nature, we are led to political turmoil that destroys and corrupts the inner self. But anarchy isn't the answer either. It's simply not that easy, and this play lays out a conundrum that engages the audience. As for it being dated, as some may claim the play to be, these themes are still relevant all over the world. Violence and revolution are always lurking in the shadows, for better or for worse. And while this play doesn't answer the question of the righteousness of revolution, it begs its audience to consider its consequences and its validity."
"For the longest time, I felt this play was beyond our reach - too complex, too expensive, and too risky for a company (and playing space) of our size. I will agree that it is seemingly crazy to produce a play in which the number of bodies on stage will be larger than our audience capacity. However, after assembling this talented and enthusiastic cast and crew, and hearing their voices plead for a revolution in harmony directed by the wonderful Trevor Watkin, our audience is going to experience a performance both innately intimate and yet terribly epic. We are a company that enjoys risks, and we promise a complete RBP experience, finely crafted over seven years. We hope you'll join us and help us pull it off.”
The Right Brain Project's 2012 production of Peter Weiss'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 opened at the RBP Rorschach on June 7 and ran through July 21 with the following creative team:
Director: Nathan Robbel
Stage Manager: Kathleen Dickinson
Music Director: Trevor Patrick Watkin
Assistant Director: Emma Peterson
Set Design: Anthony Ingram
Lighting Design: Michael C. Smith
Costume Design: David Mitchell
Props Design: Jessica Heffernan
Violence Design: Orion Couling
Dramaturg: Zev Valancy
Featuring: Adam Betz, Mary Jo Bolduc, Dave Boren, Jamie Bragg, Dan Caffrey, Natalie DiCristofano, Patrick Doolin, Brittany Ellis, Stephen Gawrit, Liz Goodson, Meghan Hartmann, Stacie Hauenstein, Ryan Heindl, Paul Krick, Gaby Labatka, Vincent Lonergan, Jared McDaris, David Mitchell, Susan Myburgh, Dennis Newport, Tyler Pistorius, Alex Potanos, Joseph Ramski, Denise Smolarek, Chad Spear, Megan Storti, Sarah Thompson, Greg Wenz, and Zev Valancy
Cast and crew publicity photos. Photography/Design by Nathan Robbel.
Production photography by Tom McGrath.
Interview with Director Nathan Robbel. Video by Stephen Gawrit.
Marat/Sade Teaser Trailer. Video by Stephen Gawrit.