Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Revolutionists—Artists Rep—SW Portland

        “Sisterhood of Heroes”

    This inventive play is written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Lava Alapai.  It is playing at their space, 1515 SW Morrison St., through May 26th.  For more information, go to their site at

    “We, the People…perfect union…all men are created equal…freee…” seems like good words of a document for democracy and freedom.  But, good grief, how those words can be mis-construed, mis-interpreted and manipulated over the years.  Race issues, gender issues, sexual identity, religious preferences, et. al. have all come under scrutiny as to how these words apply to them.  And so, we have, mini-revolutions to decide these issues.

    And so, it is decided by Olympe de Gouge (Jamie M. Rea), a feminist writer, theater performer and political activist, during the French Revolution, to set the record straight, as to some notable women of her generation, that have been given a bad rap.  She believes such women, like herself, were simply fighting for women’s rights in a man’s world and were condemned for it and blackened by History.

    Such other women were Charlotte Corday (Joellen Sweeney), who assassinated Jean Paul Marat, who became a traitor to the people and became a little too big for his…bathtub.  And so, she struck out for freedom for all and was deemed nothing more than a crazed murder.

    On the other hand, Marie Antoinette (Amy Newman), was royalty from the beginning in Austria and snatched, almost from her cradle, to be Queen of France.  Her life was anything but normal and, not being a native Frenchman, had her share of dissenters.  She strove to make a woman’s voice heard, and was a bit of a rock star to some, but she was ahead of her time and got caught up in the people’s revolt against aristocracy.

    And, for our final revolutionist, we have Marianne Angelle (Ayanna Berkshire), a free black woman from one of the French occupied islands where slavery was practiced, would become an activist and writer for people of color and women’s rights.  All four of these ladies (who actually never met), try to forge out a new History for themselves and for any oppressed people of any background.

    It is well known that History is written by those in power (men) and so these four ladies attempt to set the record straight, as mentioned.  Their conversations are lively, humorous at times, engrossing, thoughtful, insightful and tearful, too.  It is a side of Sisterhood not often seen and these four actors are amazing in their convincing turns, as they attempt to right wrongs.  Issues that may be talked of after the play, long into the night.

    Gunderson, Alapai and cast have presented us with a play of choices, in which we must ultimately be the jury, and decide for the Future as to the path of true democracy for everyone.  Kudos to all!

    A side note, next season looks to be super but challenging, as they won’t be in this usual space, as the theatre is being reconstructed.  So, check their website (and program) as to where and when their productions will play.

    I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


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