The Daily Gamecock

Stunning rendition of Marie Antoinette showing this fall


Across town in the Vista, the Trustus Theatre was packed for the first viewing of the play "Marie Antoinette," written by David Adjmi. 

Called “virtuosic” by the New York Times, Adjmi was listed as one of the Top 10 in Culture for 2011 by the New Yorker magazine. He currently holds commissions from Lincoln Center Theater, Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep and the Royal Court, and is the recipient of the 2012 Fadiman Award from Center Theatre Group. 

"Marie Antoinette" begins in pre-revolutionary France, going inside the life of Queen of France Marie Antoinette, who wishes to return to Austria in hopes of escaping the mirrors that society has cast upon her. Accustomed to extravagant dresses and hair wigs, Marie refuses to believe that a revolution is taking place. 

Director Robert Richmond's vision of "Marie Antoinette" embraces the glitz and glamor of its protagonist, but is also interested in the rift between public persona and reality. The play uses her immigrant status — Marie was an Austrian royal until she married into French royalty — to represent her core of personality. Throughout the play, Marie daydreams of Austria and whether or not she could return, and it seems that something essential was lost when she was sent to France as a young girl. 

The play features a range of talent, with Marie Antoinette being played by Jennifer Moody Sanchez and Louis XVI played by Scott Wild. The first performance began a sixteen-day showing of the play. Moody said that backstage was buzzing before the show. 

“The atmosphere was a hyper but positive one,” Moody said. “There’s always so much energy in the air on an opening night. We try to focus on just telling the story well.”

The cast put their best foot forward as they gave a stunning performance filled with passion, wit and dancing in elaborate dresses, some of which Moody had trouble with. 

“It was very difficult to get into the costumes after each scene. I have about four different ladies helping me,” said Moody. “Robert Richmond, the director, really wanted to perfect this so it would be flawless in time for the performance.”

And though the beginning of the film is glitzy and fun, this vision of Marie becomes complicated as the play goes on. Marie refuses to come to terms with the realities her changing world until the haunting ending, where the reality of her situation sharpens and blurs.

Gutsy and confident, Trustus's "Marie Antoinette" humanizes a historical caricature and paints in every shade of 18th century France, from monarchial excess to the terror of revolution. It was designed as a spectacle, and should be enjoyed as such.

"Marie Antoinette" runs from September 18 through October 3.