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

Marat-Sade is a theatrical mediation of history, a comment on the dramatically changing world of the 1960s. Set in post-Revolutionary France the contemporary and the historical intersect. It is a play of philosophical questioning, examining issues of social and sexual freedom and the merits of revolution. A challenging and shocking piece described at the time as “ a hypodermic needle plunged directly into the playgoers’ bloodstream. It hypnotises the eye and bruises the ear. It shreds the nerves; it vivisects the psyche—and it may scare the living daylights out of more than a few playgoers” (The Times 1964).

As relevant today as it has ever been this production is set in that iconic year, 1968, the year of assassinations, war, liberation, most importantly for this play, the May Paris protests. Widespread strikes and unprecedented student protests makes Paris in 1968 the perfect setting for such an explosive production. The production underlines the correlations between 18th Century post-Revolutionary France, the turbulent 1960s and the uncertain times we live in today.

A fine example of Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, Theatre Workshop’s ‘in-yer-face’ interpretation shocked and challenged audiences. With a large cast of some of Britain’s best disabled actors including Nabil Shaban, the production presented  Marat/Sade in all its raw intensity.