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'Marie Antoinette' Opens At The A.R.T. 10:40

This article is more than 8 years old.

In the age of the Occupy movement and historic income inequality, it might seem strange to ask an audience to find sympathy for Marie Antoinette, the infamous 18th century French ruler who said of her impoverished subjects, "Let them eat cake."

But in "Marie Antoinette," a new tragi-comedy by David Adjmi, which opens Friday at the A.R.T., the doomed French queen is more than just a heartless ruler who sparked a revolution and lost her head. As played by Brook Bloom, she's complicated, sort of funny, and vulnerable.

Director Rebecca Taichman explained the tension of facing watching such a complex character:

I think having sympathy for her is a really complicated, strange, uncomfortable feeling. What the play asks of that discomfort is that you go deeper into the discomfort so that if you don't just demonize this one individual but actually look at the much larger systems that actually put this into place — a system that would place a 14 year old with barely any education in the role of running a nation. There's something terribly, terribly toxic and broken going on there. She's actually, eerily, kind of unterrifyingly vulnerable to it.

Playwright David Admji described the synthesis of past and present in writing the play:

The play is not really set now. It’s not set then. It’s a bit of a lysergic acid trip blending of things...I didn’t want to do a historical drama. I hope that it has its own idiom and its own world.


  • Rebecca Taichman, director
  • David Admji, playwright
  • Brook Bloom, lead actress

This segment aired on September 6, 2012.

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