Tuesday 26 April 1983 to Saturday 30 April 1983 (5 performances)
at Hampton Court Theatre, Hampton Court House, Surrey, United Kingdom
Why write a play about a leader of the French Revolution and his murder and set it in a mental asylum fifteen years after the event took place, you may ask? Sade's encounter with Marat, which is the subject of this play, is entirely imaginary, they did not meet, although Sade did speak his funeral address. But Weiss was interested in the highly individual minds of these two protagonists. He was concerned, as they were, with man's human dilemma "how best to create a more just society; how best to attain a more fair division of wordly goods" and with this, he counter poses - "Can anything justify the act of violence and the suffering it precipitates." And so he chose the time of one of the most violent acts - the oppressed attempted to try and redress the balance - The French Revolution of 1790 and the years that followed.
It is an historical fact that the notorious Sade spent years in Charenton Asylum and was there in 1808 the day in which the play is set. It is also a fact that he was allowed to direct the Patients in dramatic performances as therapeutic treatment. So Weiss creates a situation in which these two highly individual minds can exchange a dialectic on these matters, using in Marat's case, words which he actually used in his writings and speeches. Weiss raises many questions but he leaves us, the observer, to provide the conclusions.Marat/Sade
by Peter Weiss
Translation by Geoffrey Skelton and Adrian Mitchell