Physics and Physiques

Review of Emilie: The Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight at ArtsWest by Safaa D.

Emilie! Shout it for the world to hear! This lady may not come to the forefront of your thoughts when the phrase "world's greatest minds" is uttered but it's time to add her to your vocabulary. Perhaps more often known as Voltaire's hot-rod mistress, the spotlight is finally shined upon Emilie Du Chatelet in this Seattle debut performance.

Photo by Michael Brunk

Born an aristocrat in the early eighteenth century Emilie (Kate Witt) is given the rare advantage of being highly educated as a girl. Married at a young age to an officer in the army and having three children, she continues on with her thirst for knowledge that her father inspired in her as a child. Learning six languages, experimenting with the mass of fire, and correcting Newton's theories about life and the universe is what she does best. (All while tending to society and fueling a passionate affair with Voltaire [Nick DeSantis].) Unable to freely speak her mind due to the sexism of the day, Emilie is portrayed as of one of the greatest minds and feminists in history.

Playwright Lauren Gunderson brings the story alive through love and philosophy, along with a good dose of comedy. The mature Emilie is portrayed by Kate Witt who demands your attention throughout the evening, never allowing your mind to wander, she has you roped and tied. Scenes from Emilie’s life when she was young are showcased throughout the play by Sara Coates showing all the different aspects of her life from childhood to her last breath. Gunderson is as accurate as possible with Emilie’s life and her love affairs; sexuality runs as an undercurrent throughout the play, a study of physics and physiques. This is a way you can get a two-hour history lesson without even knowing it. Enjoyable and educational, you will not want to miss this piece of work.

I must say that ArtsWest is one of my favorite theaters and I encourage you to check it out. Definitely the smallest play house I have been to, it's amazing what it can do for the performance. The actors are more in tune with their surroundings, making you feel part of a community. There are probably only a hundred seats to fill. Emilie is the perfect time for you to visit ArtsWest.

Head over to ArtsWest, sit back in your seat and take a dive into the mind of Emilie. Let the Madame Du Chatelet tell you her story. Wherever your interests may lie, you will find this play enjoyable.

Emilie: The Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight
Through February 20th
Recommended for ages 14+ due to adult themes

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