Shelfari edited the description of 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 (or Marat Sade) Friday, August 14, 2009.
This extraordinary play, which swept Europe before coming to America, is based on two historical truths: the infamous Marquis de Sade was confined in the lunatic asylum of Charenton, where he staged plays; and the revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat was stabbed in a bathtub by Charlotte Corday at the height of the Terror during the French Revolution. But this play-within-a-play is not historical drama. Its thought is as modern as today's police states and The Bomb; its theatrical impact has everywhere been called a major innovation. It is total theatre: philosophically problematic, visually terrifying. It engages the eye, the ear, and the mind with every imaginable dramatic device, technique, and stage picture, even including song and dance. All the forces and elements possible to the stage are fused in one overwhelming experience. This is theatre such as has rarely been seen before. The play is basically concerned with the problem of revolution. Are the same things true for the masses and for their leaders? And where, in modern times, lie the borderlines of sanity?