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Marie Antoinette

A.R.T. Board of Trustees

A.R.T. Board of Advisors

Donald Ware, Chairman Laurie Burt Paul Buttenwieser Kevin Cole Costin Mike Dreese Michael Feinstein Provost Alan M. Garber Lori Gross  Ann Gund  Sarah Hancock Jonathan Hulbert Fumi Matsumoto  Rebecca Milikowsky  Ward Mooney  Diane Paulus  James Rhee  Dina Selkoe Diana Sorensen Lisbeth Tarlow

Kathleen Connor, Co-Chair Rachael Goldfarb, Co-Chair Frances Shtull Adams Joseph Auerbach* Philip Burling* Greg Carr Antonia Handler Chayes* Bernard Chiu Lizabeth Cohen Rohit Deshpande Susan Edgman-Levitan Jill Fopiano Erin Gilligan Candy Kosow Gold Barbara Wallace Grossman Horace H. Irvine II

The Lily’s Revenge

We are fresh off the excitement of the 2012 Tony Awards, where two productions developed at the A.R.T.– The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Once–were the big winners of the night, garnering 10 Tonys between them. As the country heads into the peak of election fever, we start off the fall with two new productions that use imagination Diane Paulus, and wit to explore pressing questions in Artistic Director contemporary American society. We open our season with Marie Antoinette, a world premiere by celebrated playwright David Adjmi. Our first-ever co-production with Yale Repertory Theatre, Marie Antoinette is Adjmi’s dark and comic spin on the French Revolution, as seen through the eyes of perhaps the most famous member of the 1%. This new play’s raw emotional power and biting wit use history to take a detonating look at the very funny, very beautiful, and very painful aspects of our own culture. In October, we invite you across Harvard Square to OBERON, the A.R.T.’s club theater, to experience a singular theatrical event: The Lily’s Revenge by Taylor Mac. In The Lily’s Revenge, Mac’s imagination runs wild, defying all conventions as he weaves together a five-act extravaganza that includes a musical, a verse play, a dream ballet and a silent film into one. Mac stars as The Lily, leading a cast of over 30 Boston performers, including A.R.T. favorites Thomas Derrah and Remo Airaldi. I look forward to seeing you at the theater. Read on in this guide for more information on both of these productions, including interviews with the artists and a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process. Then, flip The Guide over to learn about our winter productions of Pippin and Hansel and Gretel. As always, thank you for joining The Experience at the A.R.T.!

Photo: Dario Acosta

welcome to Fall 2012 at the A.R.T.!

Dan Mathieu Travis McCready Ellen Gordon Reeves Linda U. Sanger Maggie Seelig John A. Shane Michael Shinagel Sam Weisman Alfred Wojciechowski Yuriko Jane Young *Emeriti

Founding Director Robert Brustein

Fall Cover: Taylor Mac in The Lily’s Revenge. Photo: Jose A Guzman Colon.


The Lily’s Revenge

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marie antoinette September 1-29, 2012

Written by David Adjmi, Directed by Rebecca Taichman This barbed and brassy tragicomedy provides a peek into the life of cake enthusiast and infamous representative of the 1%, featuring Brooke Bloom as the Queen of France. The A.R.T. presents this world premiere in a co-production with Yale Repertory Theatre.

Versailles Palace

From Riches to Rags The Spectacularly Public Life of Marie Antoinette By Eli Keehn First things first: she never said it. “Let them eat cake,” as a phrase, existed long before Marie Antoinette became France’s most celebrated and controversial queen. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was attributed to essentially any princess who appeared aloof from the poor—which was every princess. Marie led a decadent and pampered lifestyle, but she was ultimately more clueless than cruel. Her existence was comfortable, controlled, isolated, and carefully managed— until, all of a sudden, it wasn’t anymore. Marie was born in 1755, a daughter of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa—the fifteenth of sixteen children, eleven of them girls. The Empress, probably





1755 Marie is born in Vienna to The Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa of the Hapsburgs.

the most powerful woman in Europe, spun a series of complex political alliances and cemented those alliances with promises of marriage. Her daughters were tools, sharpened by governesses and teachers of courtly arts so that they could be shipped to Europe’s various kings and dukes as living links between the Austrian Empire and its allies. Thus, from her very early childhood Marie’s persona and behavior were carefully crafted—she took especially well to dancing and singing, but was resistant to reading and writing, and her governesses tended to finish her homework for her. She was, in fact, notoriously poor at French, the language of European politics and aristocracy. Throughout the 1760s Marie’s sisters 1766 In his work Confessions, Rousseau writes of an overweight noblewoman who ignorantly proclaims, “Let them eat cake!”—years before Marie even entered the public eye.

either died of smallpox or were married off, and she became, essentially by default, her mother’s choice to marry the French heir to the throne, the Dauphin, Louis Auguste. Painstaking negotiations preceded the marriage agreement; the two sides settled on a dowry of 200,000 florins (roughly $3.6 million today), but the French court notably insisted that Marie undergo oral surgeries to correct her unacceptably crooked teeth. The very idea of the future French king marrying an Austrian aroused considerable suspicions in France, as Austria and France shared little more than a mutual enmity towards Prussia. Maria Theresa eventually wore down the opposition, and in May 1770, her youngest continued on next page >

Louis XVI

1770 Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are married, first by proxy in Vienna and later face-to-face in the royal palace of Versailles. A cozy relationship between Austria and France is established. more >


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daughter was handed over to the French court on a neutral island in the middle of the Rhine River, symbolically removing her Austrian clothing and donning the elaborate dress of Versailles. Marie was fifteen years old and would never see her mother again. But Maria Theresa’s influence over her daughter’s behavior did not diminish with distance. Marie arrived at court with a set of highly specific instructions from the Empress, including a detailed breakdown of her morning routine: When you wake up, you will immediately upon arising go through your morning prayers on your knees and read some religious text, even if it is only for six or seven minutes, without concerning yourself about anything else or speaking to anyone.... You must be very strict about this, for it depends on you alone, and your temporal and spiritual happiness may depend upon it. The Empress informed the new Dauphine that the whole set of instructions (known as the règlements, or “rules”) were to be reread once a month. Maria Theresa supplemented the information she received from Marie’s regular letters with secret reports about her behavior that were sent by the Austrian Minister to France. Courtly life at Versailles was spectacularly, almost unimaginably, public. Anybody appropriately dressed was welcome to watch the royals eat dinner; men required swords for entry, but these could be borrowed at the palace gates by anyone who forgot his at home. Even more ostensibly private routines, like the daily toilette (morning cartoon: “The hooker of Austria”

preparations), were elaborate rituals necessitating a vast array of servants. Marie could not put on her underwear without an audience; indeed, she could not put it on at all without a courtier first presenting it to her. “I put on my rouge and wash my hands in front of the whole world,” she wrote to her mother in 1773. Marie was officially presented to the French public in 1773, three years after her marriage to Louis, in a festive ceremony in Paris. She immediately entranced the crowds; when it was time to return to Versailles, the crush of nearly 200,000 onlookers paralyzed her for an hour. “What touched me the most,” she wrote her mother, was “the tenderness and “Sometimes eagerness of the I feel like a poor people, who, in spite of game that other the taxes which people play but oppress them, without me.” were carried –Marie Antoinette, away with joy Act 1 on seeing us.... How lucky we are, in our position, to win the friendship of an entire people so cheaply.” The friendship she described would soon turn, shockingly and inexorably, into virulent mistrust. The death of Louis XV in 1774 elevated the Dauphin to the throne; he became Louis XVI, and Marie fully assumed the role of the queen. She was not initially interested in political power, and contentedly planned and carried out endless decorations and redecorations of her personal palace, the Petit Trianon. A relatively small chateau on the grounds of Versailles built during the reign of Louis’ father, Trianon became Marie’s intimate escape from the taxing formalities of courtly life. She became a fashion icon, starting the trend of the “pouf”—a towering mass of



1775 Newly minted King Louis XVI re-gifts the estate Petit Trianon to Marie as a wedding present. Marie commissions an entire remodeling of the gardens, drawing public attention to her

penchant for decadence. Meanwhile, protesters in Paris riot after a dismal harvest skyrockets the price of bread. 1777 Joseph II of Austria visits the royal couple

to encourage consummation of the marriage. 1778 Marie gives birth to her first daughter, Marie Thérèse Charlotte.

hair extravagantly decorated with miniature objects. Her chief pleasure was gambling, on one occasion playing for three straight days leading up to her 21st birthday. Her behavior did not cause the enormous French debt which was itself the principal factor in revolution—the costs of various wars, including the support of the American rebellion in the late 1770s, must shoulder the majority of the blame for that—but nonetheless the French public began to sour on her. Largely due to the royal couple’s difficulty conceiving an heir, libelous and pornographic pamphlets began to appear in the streets of Paris. The Marie of the pamphlets possessed a voracious sexual appetite, which her husband could not satisfy, driving her to seek pleasure from hundreds of male and female courtiers and attendants. Throughout the 1780s, as the French financial situation deteriorated and increasingly exorbitant taxes were levied, public opinion towards the monarchy and towards Marie in particular continued to degenerate. Upon her arrival in France, she had been called with some affection L’Autrichienne, “The Austrian woman;” now the nickname devolved into L’autre-chienne, “the other bitch”—the word other pointing to Marie’s status as an outsider in French society by nature of her foreign birth. When things finally fell apart, they fell apart quickly. Parisian mobs stormed the Bastille in July 1789; in August the National Assembly introduced a constitution; in October a crowd attacked Versailles and forced the royal family to move to Paris, where they were placed under house arrest in the palace of the Tuileries. The King, the Queen, and their children would remain there for two years, until a hopelessly botched escape attempt in 1791, dramatized in David Adjmi’s play, allowed the revolutionaries to begin the process of dismantling the monarchy in earnest. Louis clung to his title until September 1792, and in December of that year was put on trial for treason. He was beheaded in January 1793. Throughout this terrifying, vertiginous

1781 On the heels of Marie’s rumored infidelity with Axel von Fersen, Louis Joseph is Axel Von born. He is Fersen accepted as the heir to the throne.

1783 Rumors and public derision of Marie reach a fever pitch. The streets are flooded with pamphlets declaring her adulterous, immoral, and ignorant nature.

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Marie Antoinette The Lily’s Revenge

four-year period, Marie was essentially helpless; she never seemed to grasp completely the gravity of the situation, writing to a friend after the failed escape that, “We are in view of our guards day and night; I’m indifferent to it…Be calm, nothing will happen to me.” But once Louis had been disposed of, there was no hope for her. She was given a twoday trial, at which she was accused, among much else, of secretly funneling money to Austria and of having an incestuous relationship with her son—behaviors directly 1786 Sophie Béatrice, Marie’s second daughter, is born; she dies a year later. Marie commissions the building of a quaint mock village on the grounds of Versailles, called Le Hameau de la Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet). Parisians invent

lifted from the defamatory pamphlets which had been circulating for a decade. In October 1793, the crowds which had met her with adoration twenty years earlier now gathered to witness her public beheading. Her last words were, “I did not do it on purpose.” She was not speaking of her role, however large or small it was, in the downfall of the extraordinarily privileged monarchical system in which she had participated essentially since birth. Rather, she was speaking to her executioner; upon mounting the guillotine platform, she’d accidentally stepped on his foot. Le Hameau de la Reine

stories with Le Hameau as the epicenter of Marie’s sleaze. 1788 Louis has slowly heeded calls for reform, as France teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. The King assembles the Estates-General,

a meeting of French nobles, clergy, and commoners, for the first time since 1614. Each “estate” receives one, equal vote on reform. 1789 June: The commoners, whose radical policy ideas didn’t sit well with

Eli Keehn was the A.R.T. Literary/ Dramaturgy intern during the 2011/12 season. He now teaches at The Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, MA.

Recommended Reading: Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser. 2001.

Marie-Antoinette: Writings on the Body of a Queen ed. Dena Goodman. 2003.

Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Evelyne Lever, trans. Catherine Temerson. 2000.

Louis, defect from the Estates-General, forming the National Assembly. Louis attempts (unsuccessfully) to disband the rabblerousers. He orders government troops to gather outside Paris. Meanwhile, Marie’s eldest son, the Dauphin

Louis Joseph, dies of tuberculosis. July: Mobs converge on the Bastille, in search of arms. This precedes two months of riots by the peasant class. more >


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RM: What drew you to her?

“I think of myself as a Cubist because I compress things that are disparate and see how they all go together.”

RM: So Marie Antoinette learns something by the end of your play?

do Monarchs Dream of Talking Sheep? A.R.T. Dramaturg Ryan McKittrick interviews Marie Antoinette playwright David Adjmi Ryan McKittrick: I had always thought this play was a response to the recession, so I was surprised to learn that you wrote it in 2006. David Adjmi: It’s pathetically more relevant now than it was when I wrote it during the Bush Administration. RM: How did you start working on the play? DA: I was at the MacDowell Colony, and I was there to work on another project. But it was a very complicated project and I was driving myself crazy. I had never been in an artists’ colony before, so I was getting really

panicked by the sheer latitude that I had every day. I didn’t know what to do with myself and I started having a meltdown. So I thought, “I’m not going to write this play anymore.” And I decided to read Veronica, Mary Gaitskill’s novel about a model. I was enjoying reading the book, and then I remember having this flash—“I’m going to write a play about Marie Antoinette.” I walked down to the public library and got a bunch of children’s books. Then I looked on the internet for two or three days and wrote down everything, just to get the timeline. And then I frenetically wrote the play as quickly as I could. The play just flew out of me. It was a very strange experience.


Le Prise de la Bastille, 1789

1789 August: The National Assembly abolishes feudalism and adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (inspired by the Declaration of Independence).

October: Marie and family are taken from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace. 1790 All hereditary titles are abolished, marking the end of noble lineage.

DA: I think she’s beginning. She’s beginning to understand that she doesn’t know anything, and she’s beginning to understand the vastness of this domain of the unknown. Or maybe there are things that she knew, but wasn’t sensitized to. Like that the people were starving. She says that explicitly in the first scene, but she doesn’t understand the significance. She also says, “Countess Brandeiss always let me skip my homework.” Which is true. They were very lax with her. She wasn’t bred to be a thinker. And she was kind of sold off and married very young, which was part of these political machinations. And she just went along with it, like we all do sometimes in life. What she went through was horrible, in the end. And in the play you see her struggling to understand what is going on. It’s sort of like if Paris Hilton were imbued with tremendous subjectivity all of a sudden and could see what she’s doing.

The Lily’s Revenge

DA: I think of Marie Antoinette as someone who is striving for a kind of integrity, but she doesn’t necessarily have the tools or the compass to know what the criteria are for that integrity. And I think that idea very much fits into my body of work. I remember showing the play to my agent at the time, and she said, “Oh my God, that’s Richard II.” And I remember looking at Richard II and seeing the parallels. Marie learns to become a queen when it’s already too late.

Marie Antoinette

David Adjmi

RM: Do you feel sorry for Marie Antoinette? DA: I do. I feel like she was misunderstood. I don’t know how much of it I invented, but when I was writing the play I felt that I communed with Marie Antoinette. I know that sounds crazy, but it really was a strange experience writing it. I have a

1791 June: Marie and the rest of the royal family attempt to flee France by posing as commoners. It doesn’t work. September: The Assembly introduces a new Constitution.

continued on next page >

King Louis vows to uphold it and his power is restored as a constitutional monarch. 1792 April: Responding to threats from surrounding European countries to end the Revolution, the more >


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lot of empathy for her, and a lot of love for her. I think that shows in the play. I’m not trying to sugarcoat her, and I’m not sentimentalizing what she did or what she didn’t do. But I don’t think she knew what the hell was going on. She was part of this vast machinery that she didn’t create. There were so many people holding up a mirror, saying, “No, it’s great.” So she just sort of said, “Okay.” She wasn’t negated by anyone until the end. But by then it was too late. And I think that’s really interesting. I’m not judging her. I’m trying to understand her, and at the same time poke fun at her a little bit. It’s very playful. RM: I laughed out loud the first time I read your play. But at the same time I was also very moved. Do you think of this as a comedy? A tragicomedy? DA: I think of myself as a Cubist because I compress things that are disparate and see how they all go together. Things vault from tone to tone in my plays, just like they do in life. And I want to show people that this is all part of one existence. So I think I’m always busting open genre. Because genre is an artificial organization in which we know what to expect, and I’ve never felt that in my life. I’ve felt very disorientated and kind of traumatized, and I’ve always wanted to articulate that experience in my plays. Even if it might be jarring for audiences sometimes. I’m just not really at home in the world, and I’ve never felt that way. I really do feel like E.T. I’m actually working on a book right now and writing a lot about E.T., because I remember being so profoundly moved by the film when I was little. But E.T. got to leave this world and I have to stay here! RM: Did you always have a talking sheep in this play? DA: Always. When I read about Le Hameau [the rustic retreat at Versailles built for Marie Antoinette] I just thought it was so comic. I don’t know where exactly the

talking sheep came from. But sometimes you just have to make certain aesthetic choices and keep going. You can’t stop yourself. When the sheep started talking to Marie Antoinette, I thought, “This is so stupid. I don’t want to put talking animals in my plays. I’m not Shari Lewis!” But I actually love the sheep.

UpStairs at the Pudding’s and UpStairs on the Square’s Charlotte au Chocolat

OK, maybe Marie Antoinette didn’t actually say the immortal phrase. Still, what better way to remember Marie than by baking this Versailles-worthy confection, courtesy of UpStairs on the Square’s pâtissiers.


RM: Could you tell me about the visual world for this production? DA: It’s so decadent, so blown up. The set designer Riccardo Hernandez calls it “phantasmagorical Versailles.” It’s sort of like Versailles on acid. The world of the play is not literal, so the design has to take on a kind of exaggerated, stylized quality. It’s been really fun—the design meetings have been heaven for me. It’s the best design team ever. Everyone is very engaged and passionate about their ideas. We fight sometimes, but it’s hysterical. RM: What has it been like to work on this play during the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Ryan McKittrick is the A.R.T. Dramaturg and co-head of the Dramaturgy Program at the A.R.T./Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

new France declares war on Austria.

Louis be removed from office.

July: Maximilien Robespierre, the de facto leader of the National Assembly, demands that

August: The Legislative Assembly does not suspend the king’s powers, despite the

demands of Robespierre and company. Marie and her family are imprisoned at the Temple, a medieval castle in Paris. September: Mobs massacre many of the nobles imprisoned in

(all ingredients at room temperature except water) 8 oz semi sweet chocolate 1 cup sugar 2 tsp instant dry coffee ½ cup sc. boiling water ½ lb butter 4 eggs 1 tbsp rum

To make: » Place chocolate, sugar in dry food processor bowl » Pulse until broken up » Add coffee to mixing cup with boiling water » Add it to mixture and pulse until chocolate is melted » Add room temperature butter in small pieces, pulsing until smooth (do not over mix)

DA: It’s been surreal. Absolutely crazy. The tremors of this earthquake started a long time ago. There’s something that needs to tumble, and I think it’s going to happen. I do believe there is a certain kind of historical progress. It’s slow, but I think we’re seeing it.



Let Them Eat Cake!

» Add eggs one at a time and pulse » Add rum and pulse » Scoop mixture into foil lined tins » Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees Thanks to Mary-Catherine Deibel for the recipe. Let yourself eat cake (or charlotte) at UpStairs on the Square, 91 Winthrop Street, Harvard Square. If Marie Antoinette were around today, she would be a regular.

Paris; 1,500 die. The Legislative Assembly is disbanded and replaced by a consolidated National Convention. The Monarchy is abolished and France is declared a Republic.

December: Louis is put on trial for treason. 1793 January: King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine. more >

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The Queen of Couture

Liana Stillman interviews Marie Antoinette costume designer Gabriel Berry Liana Stillman: Marie Antoinette is an eighteenth-century fashion icon, and we see her style echoed by modern designers like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. What about Marie is attractive to the fashion and costume worlds?

of costume. There’s so much information out there about her wardrobe and her era. From the beginning of her reign until the end there are lot of changes that get made. By the time she’s beheaded you have a whole fashion that is started by the clothing of the sans-culottes, the people who were the revolutionaries, and you have hairstyles called á la guillotine, which is when women and men chopped all their hair off, and had short punky hairdos. The cynicism of that is sort of startling, but they were fairly cute haircuts.

Gabriel Berry: She was rich, she was powerful, and early in her career she was young and unsupervised and had the power to create fashion. And she went for it. She was continuously playing with how she presented herself and she was outrageous “The very fact and fearless in the sort of things she tried out. I that you’d have think a lot of her whimsy to raise an is attractive to us today, archway to get and the impracticality. your hair into a Life is so earnest now, clothes are so earnest room makes for now; just the very fact a good story.” that you’d have to raise an archway to get your hair into a room makes for a good story.

GB: I never do anything all in period. We’re not historians, it’s not a museum, it’s a theater piece. No one does period completely faithfully, no one has the money, nobody has the time, nobody has the actors that can wear the clothing, and I think it’s sort of silly to pretend that’s what you’re doing. I’m always fully aware of what century I’m in, what day I’m in, what year I’m in. It’s 2012 and that’s going to be reflected somehow in what I’m doing. LS: Could you talk a little more about the wigs? How else will you collaborate with the hair and makeup artists?

John Galliano for Christian Dior 2000

MARIE ANTOINETTE TIMELINE (continued) 1793 September: Robespierre declares terror “the order of the day.” The Reign of Terror, a yearlong period of mass executions, begins.


October: Marie Antoinette is charged

GB: A lot of John Gabriel Berry Galliano’s stuff, a lot of Dior from two to four years ago. There’s always Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. I’ve been looking at Yohji Yamamoto a lot for menswear. LS: Is your vision for the costumes for Marie Antoinette purely period, or will we find elements from other periods as well?

LS: What type of research have you done to prepare for Marie Antoinette? What’s particularly exciting about the dress of this historical period? GB: It’s extreme. Earlier in her reign she had the widest panniers we’ve ever seen. You’ve got dresses going out at the side and you have the tallest headdresses. I went into all sorts of resources, but I do a lot of fashion sampling at the same time. I’m looking at designer collections at the same time that I’m looking at street fashion and the history

LS: You mentioned looking at designer collections, are there any in particular that have inspired you for this?

with treason, plus with a cavalcade of other moral and political crimes. She is found guilty within 24 hours and, the next day, is executed by guillotine at the age of 37. 1794 Robespierre is charged

with crimes against the Republic and is put to death. The Reign of Terror ends, having cost France approximately 40,000 lives. 1795 Napoleon Bonaparte is named Commanderin-Chief of the French

continued on page 12 >

military and begins his conquest of Europe. Four years later, Napoleon leads a coup d’etat, toppling the constitutional government and establishing himself as head of state.

Jacques-Louis David. Marie Antoinette on her last journey to the guillotine, 1793.

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GB: The first scene, as David has written it, calls for the wigs to be three feet high. That’s rather high. They weren’t really that high in the period that they were actually being worn so there’s a theatrical effect that he wants to have with the wigs. It became obvious to me that those wigs could certainly not be wigs: they had to be sculptures because they have to weigh nothing. So, one of the first things I knew going into this project was that we were going to need a sculptor to make those wigs.

lot of technical things in this that are challenging.

Photo: Alessandro Luccioni/Imax Tree

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LS: Are there any particular Spring 2009 Christian challenges that come with creating Dior Couture, Myf costumes for a show like this? It’s a Shepherd. new play, and toes the line between historical and modern, as well as comedy and tragedy. GB: There are certainly technical issues with how things are going to get on and off stage, how wigs are going to be attached, how big the skirts are going to be, how the actors will change. Most everything needs to happen quickly, and we’re moving through time very quickly, so how can you get actors from one costume into another? We’re actually dressing Marie onstage, pretty much, in order to keep everything moving. That always makes for an interesting effect. But the question is: how are we getting the clothes on stage? There are a


LS: How did you get interested in designing costumes? Do you have any advice for aspiring costume designers? GB: I liked looking at pictures of old costumes. My path was very circuitous and not very obvious. I just like old clothes. I like textiles, I like fabrics, and I liked playing dress-up. I guess I was able to incorporate those things into a career. I like history and could have Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun. been a librarian in another life. I Marie Antoinette in a think that costume design always Muslin dress, 1783. involves a lot of research. Each show has its own needs and it’s exciting to go from universe to universe. As for young costume designers, the world of design is changing with so much of it being digital and online and repurposed. I think the thing is to always follow your heart and do what makes you happy. Liana Stillman is a second-year dramaturgy student at the A.R.T./ Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

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The Lily’s Revenge October 12-28, 2012

Written by Taylor Mac, Directed by Shira Milikowsky An unforgettable allegory for love without boundaries. Featuring a 30+ person ensemble, The Lily’s Revenge weds dance, film, theater, and music into five unique acts that shatter cultural expectations and social norms.

the Botany of an Event

Taylor Mac on Myths, Weddings, and Dreaming the Culture Forward Morgan C. Goldstein Interviews Taylor Mac: Writer and Lead Actor of The Lily’s Revenge

Taylor Mac

Morgan C. Goldstein: When did you know that you wanted to work in theater? Taylor Mac: Well, there are two answers. One is that I did my first play when I was five and it clicked. And the other is that I had a big shift when I went on the Walk Across America For Mother Earth, which was a political walk from New York City to a Nevada nuclear test site. I knew I wanted to be a theater artist but I didn’t necessarily know what the options were, because I grew up in a small city and wasn’t exposed to a lot of different kinds of theater. There were all these queers and alternative thinkers on the walk, so I learned about alternative culture, and when I finished the walk I realized that I could incorporate that into my theater work. MCG: You’ve said that your “job as a theater artist is to remind your audience of the range of their humanity.” What do you mean by that? TM: I think that we don’t always express everything that we are in our lives. In order to make sense of the world at large and the many possibilities in it, we try to reduce ourselves. Human beings are so varied and multi-faceted, and the theater gives us an opportunity to experience and express some of that variance within ourselves. So I try to create situations where the audience is given permission to connect to the full range of who they are. They see people who are unabashedly doing that on stage and can relate to it. Theater also gives audiences practice in dealing with emotions, thoughts and ideas that they don’t normally deal with in their everyday lives. Then when those heightened moments come to them in their real lives, they’ve had some experience with them and can handle those moments with a little bit of grace and maybe not as much panic or violence. continued on next page >



MCG: And how do you accomplish that? TM: We do it by surprising them. We stitch together each piece with as much surprise as we possibly can, because the only time you can feel anything is when you’re surprised. That’s not to say shock; shock shuts people down, but surprise opens them up to let them feel. My goal is really to invite the audience into the experience.

Taylor Mac

MCG: Why is it important to do The Lily’s Revenge right now? TM: The Lily’s Revenge is about narrative, and the traditions, tropes, and myths that we hold onto; it’s about how we can use all of those myths and traditions as a way to foster community or to break community apart. Lily offers up that conversation. It asks how myths and traditions affect us, and if we can create a new myth or even a new tradition. Of course, myths are impossible to create—you can’t just decide to create one. But can we try to create a new myth or a new tradition? One that helps us live in the present moment and dream the culture forward? And that’s what the

participation. So the audience is participating in this particular play because of the content, not just because I wanted them to participate.

“My goal is really to invite the audience into the experience.”

end of The Lily’s Revenge is—an offering of that conversation. MCG: The Lily’s Revenge plays with the performer/audience paradigm—this is not a show that the audience watches passively. What is your ideal performer-audience relationship? TM: Well, it’s different with every play. Content dictates the form for the work. Since Lily is about myths, traditions, genres, and how we tell stories, I said, “Let’s squish every single genre and style and form of narrative that I can think of into one play.” And many of those forms utilize audience

Photo: Jose A Guzman Colon

The Lily’s Revenge

Marie Antoinette

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MCG: Lily is a long show! Why?

TM: I modeled it after a wedding, which goes on for about five hours. So that’s how long the play is. You’re asked to be a silent observer at a wedding, so we’re going to have the audience sit and watch at certain points and not participate. But you’re also asked to be a participant at certain points in a wedding—everyone has to stand when the bride comes in, for example. So we’re going to make the audience do things in this show. There’s dancing and food at weddings, and we’re going to have dancing and food. You meet people you don’t know and you come with people that you do know. So we’re creating a situation where people are meeting other audience members and performers. Morgan C. Goldstein is a first-year dramaturgy student at the A.R.T./Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

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Marie Antoinette The Lily’s Revenge 15

Marie Antoinette The Lily’s Revenge

In order to aid you on your journey, here is a garden map, your own guide within The Guide to getting the most out of this one-of-a-kind theater event.

ACT I s nces A Pri al Music anese Noh

ally l Jap itiona y typic In trad e Deity Pla uld bless , th wo Drama a god, who an uplifting d t e rela e dience. In starr r and e t a e au e he the th s story to th he god is T t u , religio s Revenge h he’s thoug sing ily’ L , e g h T s Longin the ble Great actly not ex kind.

In 2011, the retail level for the floriculture industry was estimated to be at $35.2 billion! ✿ The US imported over 1 billion roses in 2009. ✿ The most popular domestically produced flowers are Tulips and Gerbera Daisies. ✿ Top 5 Imported Flowers: Roses (42%) Chrysanthemums (10%) Carnations (7%) Alstroemena (6%) Lilies (4%)

2012/13 SEASON americanrepertorytheater.or g

The Lily’s Revenge is a five-act play written in five different styles, bringing together a musical, a verse play, a dream ballet, a silent film, and a wild, mash-

NIST! TAGO e AN g that h t is longin nd es a reat aa ience.” i c e p g h l ex r hic ived sta l w o rt a n N rt i an Stew ss ts pa ne us s en d e S e a k r s p a tt G re t, a GIN no jec LON es n ob o a THE GREAT d t it thou use “Sadness wi beca is inauthentic

ACT II An Act in Iambic, Song, an d Haiku A Ghost W arrior Play

Who is Susan Stewart?

traditionally the story of tells fallen samur ai engaged endless bat tle in the af in an ter life. Sud Lily is in th denly, The e midst of a budding floral revolu Fertilizer 4 tion. Thought: How does a floral revolu tion begin? Check here for some st ats! Quick Defin Iambic: Styl itions: e of verse w ritten in Iambic fe et: an unstress ed syllable followed by a stress ed syllable Haiku: Styl e of Japanes e poetry with three lines equaling 5, 7, 5 respectively


A poet and literary theorist. Born in 1962, Stewart has written many collections and holds many awards. She writes so that people will “read more slowly…reread…and see connections.”


Guests for the play: ❏ Quentin Crisp ❏ Susan Stewart ❏ Hegel ❏ Felix Mendelssohn ❏ Bayard Rustin ❏ Samuel Beckett ❏ Robert Herrick ❏ The Pope

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Illustration by Boston artist Valerie Arruda with concept from Hayley Sherwood.

ACT III allet A Dream B

Bride and The lovers, t… p in this ac Groom, slee e’s A ar pe es ak just like in Sh am. Night’s Dre an elegant Midsummer atures fe s ree ay w al ay Pl rporates th ve co Lo in The Revenge ’s ly Li : e ns Th io it dance. Defin styles. Quick ell’Arte movement ommedia D C n lia Ita e th tor to om ac fr e es th iv r Lazzi: Der tchphrase fo ca a e lik t ewha and is som antee laughs use to guar 1970s as pan in the inated in Ja Loosely t. ar Butoh: Orig ce performan de ar G nce nt va h an A p or eart da means stom on lli be translated re rmed as a Modern: Fo ee and llet and is fr ba t ns agai expressive

xt te nerwebsitet. n Co Corout our ding lis rea ck

ACT V A Pasti che The fin al

The Lily’s Revenge

DIRT is the God of Here and Now, the creator of intimacy, child of Time, and sibling of The Great Longing.

Marie Antoinette

up finale. With three intermissions and a cast of over 30 Boston performers, the play draws from history, philosophy, and mythology.

Noh pla a quick y alway tempo s has and lot They of s o f a ten com ction. and de e to a s cisive c u d d en onclusio act is a n. The f mash-u inal p of the and the earlier ir const acts ituent p to a we arts. Sim dding, ilar Act V e with a r nds aucous celebra tion.

Che for a

TI ut i




urth play in a Noh sequence frequently an everyd d ramatizes ay, someti mes banal, It zooms in event. on and ce things in li lebrates th fe. For exa e little mple, Dirt Lily: “Wha says to Th t would it e be like if y equating lo ou stoppe ve with eq d uality? Wh be like to at would it stop equa ting love w it h loving?” Fertilizer 4 Though Taylor Mac t: (the playw right) says: “I believe theater is a commun ity action and as a playwrigh t, I am a commun ity organizer. ”


ACT IV A Silent F ilm The fo

: 004 e 7, 2 ag y 1 marri A. a M x M e-se zed in m a li S lega s a w


E TIME is a character in Lily, imprisoned by her son, the Great Longing. Time says, “it can heal sadness by becoming the loved experience. Then Time cannot lack for love. The heart can never be taken from Time.”

Marriag e

In he 2, t t 201 ge cos a r ng ave weddi a s i f o e cak 1. $59


The Lily’s Revenge

Marie Antoinette

2012/13 SEASON americanrepertorytheater.or g


What history tells us about

remaking marriage By Nancy F. Cott

The Lily’s Revenge is a story about a flower who wants to marry a Bride. When The Lily is told that only grooms can marry brides, and only men can be grooms, it goes on a quest to become a man. The play uses marriage equality as a contemporary metaphor to examine the ways our nostalgia for traditions prevent us all from growing as a culture. Harvard professor Nancy F. Cott testified at the Proposition 8 trial in California, using her body of research on the history of marriage traditions to argue against defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The following is excerpted from her testimony. Opponents of equal marriage rights for legislators asserted that marriage was a same-sex couples say that marriage has “civil thing” because it dealt with matters of always been between a man and a woman property.... Thus even before the American and must remain so. They argue from Revolution, marriage was deemed a civil “tradition.” Counter to their claims is an institution, regulated by government to argument from history—a history of change promote the common good. over time. After the founding of the United States, Many features of marriage that state after state maintained this principle. were once considered essential have State laws allowed religious authorities been remade, often in the face of strong to perform marriage ceremonies and to resistance, by courts and legislatures. recognize only marriages adhering to the Economic and social changes have led to requirements of their own faith, but not increasing legal equality to determine which marriages for the marriage would be considered valid by the partners, genderpublic.... The states maintain those Shifting values neutrality of spousal same powers today, subject to the and the demands requirements and protections of the roles, and control of for gender and marital role-definition federal Constitution.... by spouses themselves racial equality... rather than by Consent is Key translated into state prescription. When the United States was transformations Yet marriage established on republican in marriage rules. principles, marital households itself has lasted, despite these dramatic continued to serve a governance changes. Not only that: function, but in a manner that it retains vast appeal. reflected the novel style of the U.S. The core of marriage as an intimate government. Sovereignty in the United States and supportive voluntary bond has been was understood to be based on the voluntary preserved. Today constitutional law sees consent of the governed. Likewise with marriage as a fundamental right. Most marriage—the male-led marital household Americans are legally allowed to marry as was legitimized by consent.... they see fit. But same-sex couples remain After emancipation, former slaves—who excluded in most jurisdictions. This exclusion had been unable to contract valid marriages stands at odds with the direction of historical because they lacked the power to consent change toward gender equality and neutrality freely—flocked to get married. As free in the legal treatment of marital roles. persons, African Americans saw marriage as an expression of civil rights long denied them. A “Civil Thing”  Seventeenth-century English colonists An Instrument of Public Order  in North America created marriage laws The state-generated social and economic almost immediately upon settling. In rewards of marriage encourage couples to England the established Anglican Church choose committed relationships of sexual ruled marriages, but rather than replicate intimacy over transient relationships. Along that arrangement or treat marriage as with those rewards for the couple come a sacrament (as Catholics do), colonial economic responsibilities for one another

that the state imposes in the interest of social order and public benefit. As government benefits expanded during the twentieth century, so did the economic dimensions of marriage. Today the United States is emphatic in channeling economic benefits through marriagebased family relationships. Social Security payments, benefits for the surviving family of deceased veterans, intestate succession rights, and pension income are all extended to legally married spouses, but not to unmarried partners. Marriage Changes Shifting values and the demands for gender and racial equality associated with the civil rights and women’s movements translated into transformations in marriage rules. Many features of contemporary marriage that we take for granted were fiercely resisted at first. Yet they did eventually win out. Although gender parity between spouses would have been unthinkable at the founding of the United States, marriage laws have moved over time in this direction. In Anglo-American common law.… the wife’s identity merged into her husband’s. She had no separate legal existence. The spouses were assigned opposite economic roles understood as complementary: the husband was bound to support and protect the wife, and the wife owed her service and labor to her husband.... Only in the 1970s did the Supreme Court reject this gender asymmetry as unconstitutionally discriminatory. Spousal benefits have been gender-neutral ever since. In 1948 the Supreme Court of California, in Perez v. Sharp, became the first state high court to declare race-based restrictions on marriages unconstitutional. At that time bans on interracial marriages were on the books in thirty states. The California high court held that legislation addressing the right to marry “must be free

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Marie Antoinette The Lily’s Revenge

and get social with us!

The history of marriage laws tells a more complex story. The ability of married partners to procreate has never been required to make a marriage legal or valid, nor have unwillingness or inability to have children been grounds for divorce. And marriage has not been one unchanging institution over time. Features of marriage that once seemed essential and indispensable proved otherwise. The ending of the marital unity doctrine in which The Weight of History the wife was subsumed under her Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey’s marriage on Marriage has evolved into a civil husband’s identity, the elimination of May 17, 2004. They were the first same-sex couple to institution through which the state be married in Cambridge. racial barriers to choice of partner, the formally recognizes and ennobles expansion of grounds for divorce— and women may only marry men. This individuals’ choices to enter into long-term, all fiercely resisted by many when first requirement is an exception to the gendercommitted, intimate relationships and to introduced—have strengthened marriage neutral approach of contemporary marriage build households based on mutual support. rather than undermining it. The adaptability law and to the long-term trend toward legal With the free choice of the two parties and of marriage has preserved it. equality in spouses’ marital roles. their continuing consent as foundations, Those who would maintain this marriage laws treat both spouses in a Nancy F. Cott is the Jonathan Trumbull exception argue that the extension of gender-neutral fashion, without regard to Professor of American History at Harvard marital rights to same-sex couples would gender-role stereotypes. University. This article is adapted from render marriage meaningless. They say that At least, most of the time. Except Nancy F. Cott’s expert report submitted in the sexual union of a man and a woman, in Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in the capable of producing children, is essential to Hampshire, Connecticut, and Washington, U.S. District Court for the Northern District marriage and is its centerpiece. D.C., men may only marry women, of California on January 12, 2010. Photo: AP/The Boston Globe

from oppressive discrimination to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws.” Over the next two decades, more than a dozen states eliminated their own race-based marriage laws.... Today virtually no one in the United States questions the legal right of individuals to choose a marriage partner without regard to race.


A.R.T. Guide: Fall 2012-2013  

Welcome to the 2012-2013 season at the A.R.T.! The Fall Guide covers the two productions slated for Fall 2012: David Adjmi's barbed and br...

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