PRESS RELEASE: Be Entertained by the Clinically Insane at the Hilberry Theatre

Contemporary Guest-Director Matthew Earnest returns for Marat/Sade

Third-year Hilberry actors Edmund Aly Jones and Vanessa Sawson are set to star in 'Marat/Sade' this April.Photo: Patrick Pozezinski

Third-year Hilberry actors Edmund Alyn Jones and Vanessa Sawson are set to star in ‘Marat/Sade’ this April.
Photo: Patrick Pozezinski

DETROIT – Playing April 19 through May 11, 2013, the evocative and extraordinary Tony Award-winning play, Marat/Sade (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) by Peter Weiss, will conclude the Hilberry Theatre’s milestone 50th season. This legendary play-within-a-play is a wildly theatrical, multi-layered event not to be missed. Tickets for Marat/Sade range from $12–$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.

The inmates of the Charenton Asylum for the Insane are putting on a show for you: a historical review of sorts concerning the last days of French patriot Jean-Paul Marat, murdered in his bathtub by a delusional country girl during the chaos that followed the French Revolution. The cast is unique to say the least – their afflictions range from narcolepsy to nymphomania and everything in between – but they’ve been thoroughly rehearsed by their director and fellow inmate, one of history’s most notorious outlaws, the Marquis de Sade.

After last season’s Much Ado About Nothing, guest-director Matthew Earnest returns to the Hilberry, using dance and a score by Richard Peaslee, to explore Peter Weiss’s seminal play of revolution and destiny. Earnest explains, “I don’t think Marat/Sade ‘deals extensively’ with the French Revolution. I believe that Peter Weiss is reframing events and people from the time of the French Revolution to discuss his own time – the Cold War and the brutal, oppressive era of the Berlin Wall…I think we still struggle with individual liberties and the common good. People really are in control of their own destinies, and that’s what this play is about. It’s not a history lesson on the French Revolution any more than Macbeth is a history lesson on Scottish politics.”

Fans of the recent Oscar-winning movie-adaptation of the famed musical Les Miserables and its subject matter of social plight and collective progress will not want to miss the chance to see these themes tackled in an avant-garde, live theatrical setting. While vastly different in approach, both explore similar themes using France’s tumultuous century of revolution as inspiration and metaphor.


Alec Barbour (Kokol), Maggie Beson (Inmate), Miles Boucher (Holy Sister),  Christopher Call (Holy Sister), Danielle Cochrane (Rossignol), Mackenzie Conn (Inmate), Megan Dobbertin (Simonne Evrard), Nancy Florkowski (Inmate), Brandon Grantz (Dupperet), Brent Griffith (Male Nurse), Rahbi Hammond (Inmate), Edmund Alyn Jones (Marat), Annie Keris (Cocurucu), Joshua Miller (Polpoch), Ty Mitchell (Inmate), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Inmate), Chelsea Ortuno (Inmate), Topher Payne (Herald), Joe Plambeck (Sade), Joshua Blake Rippy (Coulmier), Vanessa Sawson (Corday), and David Sterritt (Roux).

Production Team:

Matthew Earnest (Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Mercedes Coley (Assistant Stage Manager), Christopher Hall (Music Composer), Pegi Marshall-Amundsen (Scenic Designer), Samuel G. Byers (Lighting Designer), Mary Leyendecker (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Sound Designer), Kimbra Essex (Property Master), Michael Wilkki (Technical Director), and Patrick Pozezinski (Publicity Design).

About the Hilberry Theatre Company

The Hilberry Theatre Company is the nation’s only professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students and runs on a rotating repertory schedule.  Each academic year, about forty graduate students receive assistantships to work for the Hilberry Theatre and study for advanced degrees from Wayne State University. The company performs and produces an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 6,000 students. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts and corporate packages, visit the theatre’s website at Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.

The 2012–2013 Hilberry season is sponsored by CBS Outdoor, Between the Lines, and Encore Michigan.


By Peter Weiss

Calendar Information:

Wednesday 2 p.m.      April 24 (Postshow Talkback)
Thursday 8 p.m.          April 25 (Preshow Discussion), May 2, May 9
Friday 8 p.m.               April 19 (Opening Night), April 26, May 3, May 10
Saturday 2 p.m.           May 4, May 11
Saturday 8 p.m.           April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11 (Closing Night)

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