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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

Peter Weiss

The set is an abstraction of a bath house designed for the Project Arts Centre in Temple bar, Dublin
Marat/Sade is a play based on events that happened during the French revolution and into the Reign of Terror that followed.
While reading and researching for this play I noticed many similarities between the events and characters from this time in French history and current events scattered throughout. My design reflects this, with the being a statue's plinth that is without its statue. A theme of cleansing percolates throughout the play, and so the large plastic sheets that dominate the back of the stage resemble gushing water while pipes in the background trap the performers on their ruined plinth.

Moment drawings

Stage Model

This stage went through various redesigns and forms. At first I had the performance inspired by processional theatre similar to Macnas, however this presented various issues and the stage visually was not very interesting. I also changed the layout of the space from in the round to thrust to traverse.

Redesign to the Plinth

I went back to the drawing board and took pieces from previous designs that I liked; the sheet of "water", the layered stage, Marat and Sade being slightly raised above performance space and the sunken bath. At the time of designing this, there were many reports in the news of people pulling down statues of slavers and conquerors across the world in response to the BLM movement at the time. I looked into this and discovered that in France, from even before the Revolution when the play is set statues were regularly pulled down from their plinths in protest, with an article jokingly describing it as something akin to a national sport. Greatly inspired by this, I based the stage off the plinth of the Statue de Marianne in Paris, to pull in to both historic and contemporary times. To keep the setting in the wash house of the asylum the play is set in, I added a background of water pipes and showerheads behind the curtain, which looks like a fallen shower curtain.

Final Model

The final model is octagonal rather than round as it leaves space around the stage for audience to move around without loosing performance space.
The plastic curtain gathers towards centre stage, with the white and blue lighting gives the impression of water rushing down to the stage. I like the idea of these historical characters who all have a lot of blood and horror on their hands, are stuck in this purgatory where their souls are almost beyond cleansing. The labyrinth of pipes behind the stage traps the characters on the plinth as they recite their lives.