Emilie Ross Valley Players live theatre Marin theatre company

Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight

By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Patricia Miller
Produced by Mary Ann Rodgers

January 13 – February 5, 2017

Fiercely inquisitive and joyfully sexy, rediscover one of history’s most alluring women, Emilie du Châtelet, as she defends her loves and her life. This 18th century intellectual powerhouse, noblewoman, wife, mother, and lover played by her own rules. As a child, her father said, “My child flaunts her mind and frightens away her suitors.” Upon her death, Voltaire wrote, “she had a soul for which mine was made.” Love or philosophy? How does Emilie sum up life?

Lauren Gunderson, a playwright in residence at Marin Theatre Company, brings to light this passionate, sexy, and ferociously smart woman in a  night of theater you won’t soon forget. Strong language, mild adult themes. 

“Gunderson possesses an antic imagination that seeks to invent its own rules. As soon as we’re drawn  in, she shakes us and whisks us ten or fifteen paces ahead.” – Los Angeles Times

Buy Tickets

Opening Night Subscriber Reception on Friday, January 13 at 6:30 pm. Buzz at the Barn on Saturday, January 14 at 7 pm. Talk Backs on January 22 and January 29 following the matinee performances. Talk Back with the playwright Lauren Gunderson on January 29!

Cast & Crew

Emilie – Robyn Grahn
Voltaire – Catherine Luedtke
Madam – Tamar Cohn
Gentleman – Shoresh Alaudini
Soubrette – Neiry Rojo

Director – Patricia Miller
Production Manager – Mary Ann Rodgers
Stage Manager – Madge Grahn
Costume Design – Michael Berg
Lighting Design
Set Design – Sasha Oaks
Sound Design – Billie Cox
Property Design – Tom O’Brien
Asst. Stage Manager – Ben Vasquez
Lighting Board Op – Halina
Set Construction – Eugene DeChristopher
Marketing – Gregg LeBlanc and Jayme Catalano
Graphic DesignJayme Catalano
Volunteer Coordinator – Eleanor Prugh
Publicity – Hamilton Ink & Jaime Ciabattoni

Cast Bios

The Play


Notes from the Director

Directing this play at the Barn is the manifestation of two marvelous dreams. To finally work with the talented team at Ross Valley Players, now in their 87th Season, is a great honor and to direct a Lauren Gunderson is a great thrill. Gunderson has intrigued me since we fi rst met through the Magic Theatre when she made the courageous move West from the East Coast. Lauren’s intellectual questioning, her wit and her playfulness have made her the most produced living playwright in the USA in 2016.

What I love about this play is the meta theatricality that invites the audience into the game. It does not matter how much of the science we understand, Lauren weaves a spell made up of well researched hard science, Restoration theatrical conventions and the laws of sexual attraction! Emilie is back from the dead and she urges us to stay on our toes. My own theatrical history bridges worlds as Gunderson does. I am attracted to tough texts that mash-up with physical theatre tecniques of Lecoq, Bogart and
Restoration mannerisms. Who better to feature in that recipe but the literary rockstar Voltaire and the radical mind of Emilie, a woman who made history and was then ignored by it. Her ideas create the bridge between Newton and Einstein. I am thrilled with this cast from our feisty female lead to our gender-bending casting of Voltaire and our fierce, flexible and funny ensemble of players, who people Emilie’s court and boudoir. -Patricia Miller

Lauren Gunderson will be giving a Talk Back following the matinee on Sunday, January 29! Don’t miss your chance to interact with this prolific, vaunted playwright!

Lauren Gunderson is the most produced living playwright in America of 2016, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Co. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.

Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the US including South Cost Rep (EmilieSilent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog!), The O’Neill, The Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Olney Theatre, Geva and more.  Her work is published at Playscripts (I and YouExit, Pursued By a Bear, and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists (Silent Sky, Bauer) and Samuel French (Emilie). She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation, and a proud Dramatists Guild member. She is from Atlanta, GA and lives in San Francisco.  

LaurenGunderson.com and @LalaTellsAStory