[identity profile] jansephine.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] revolution_fr
 The Penny Dreadfuls Present: Revolution

“It is recorded that Robespierre visited Marie-Therese at one point in the tower but there is no historical record of that conversation. This play is that conversation.”

Hi Everyone!
I’ve been reading your blog posts for nearly a year, but never join the debate because of my English. Yesterday, I found a BBC radio play on youtube which is really fun. It is a conversation between Robespierre (Richard E Grant) and Marie Therese (Sally Hawkins). Did anyone here listen to this play?

Ps.Sorry for my terrible English!

The French Revolution was one of the most far-reaching social and political upheavals in modern history spanning 10 years and involving the execution of the King, collapse of monarchy and slaughter of thousands at the guillotine. Starring Richard E Grant and Sally Hawkins, comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls will attempt to tell the epic story of the Revolution in one hour, with jokes.
The play's two main characters are Maximilien Robespierre the dictatorial architect of the Reign of Terror, who sent thousands to their death and Marie-Therese, the 16 year old daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
Marie-Therese was incarcerated for three years by the revolutionaries. When she was locked up her father, mother, aunt and little brother were also with her. After the execution of her father the rest of the family were moved to another part of the tower and Marie-Therese was kept in solitary confinement. It is recorded that Robespierre visited Marie-Therese at one point in the tower but there is no historical record of that conversation. This play is that conversation.
Revolution is written by comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls, Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck, all successful in their own rights as solo performers and all taking their own shows to Edinburgh this year. Last year they wrote an Afternoon Play for Radio about Guy Fawkes and they have previously had two series of The Brothers Faversham broadcast on Radio 7.
Richard E Grant - Robespierre,
Sally Hawkins - Therese
David Reed, Humphrey Ker, Thom Tuck and Margaret Cabourn-Smith will play all other roles in the show.
Producer - Julia McKenzie.

Date: 2011-07-19 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com
Considering that the set up for this could come right out of a royalist pamphlet from 1795, and that by "it is recorded" what they really mean is "there are unsubstantiated rumors that are incredibly unlikely to be true given everything that is known about Robespierre as well as about the situation surrounding the conditions in which such a visit would have had to take place and in which such a story had to have been invented," I think I'll pass.

Date: 2011-07-19 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com
Don't be sorry. Your post wasn't inappropriate. Not everything posted here has to be academic. I just wanted to register my disapprobation of what seems to be the idea behind the play itself, as silence is often taken for approval.

I certainly don't blame you for posting about it. It would be more accurate to say I disapprove of the play's existence.

Date: 2011-07-19 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanriotfran.livejournal.com
Hi, Jan and Estella:

No doubt that the play is based in that 1795 pamplhet, but I doubt it's a Royalist one. It must have been a Girondist one. Girondist were classical liberals who disapproves radical economic views of Jacobins as well as their social ideas. In fact, Girondist hated both, Jacobins and Royalist. There are songs from back then -right after Thermidor showing clearly WHO had been succeful when Robespierre died. They used to sing "...ni de muscadins, ni de Jacobins ne nous ne traitons pas davantage...".

The 1795 pamphlet (I've read it long time ago) tried to ridiculise both Jacobins and Royalist. If Robespierre marrying Mme. Royale must have been unacceptable for classical Jacobins, it should have been the same for fanatics Royalist. Both of them were attacked by people like Barras (the first one who said that Rbespierre wanted to marry Mme. Royale and that Hanriot had been buried at Marie-Antoinette's gravesite inestead of the Queen ) Frèron, Tallien and the worst of Thermidorians. They were "revolutionaries", yes...but not the kind we could like. Those corrupted people had also said that Maximilien, Sain-Just and Couthon wanted to part France in three and "rule over it" like ancient roman tyrants should do, and they used to compare them to kings.

As for this play it doesn't upset me at all. When we sit to watch it, we knows from the start it's all imagination. What really upsets me are those plays or movies who claims they told "the real thing" and it's all made up stuff, like "Danton", by Wajda or the second part of "The French Revolution; years of rage", by Heffron. The only acceptable movie on FR I've ever see was "La Terreur et la Vertu" and some little parts of "Saint-Just, ou la force des choses".


Date: 2011-07-19 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estellacat.livejournal.com
I wasn't referring to any pamphlet in particular. You're right that it resembles Girondin or Thermidorian pamphlets as much as it does royalist. However, since it's British, whatever the actual source, it seems a lot more in the line of Pitt's propaganda than anything else. And while I don't have a problem with this because it claims to be true (it doesn't, as far as I can tell), I do have a problem with it because it's royalist.

And while they have a right to their opinion (to a certain extent - just so we're clear, whether intentionally or not, by promoting the point of view of the historical counterrevolution they are promoting a movement which was explicitly against the concept of human rights) I have not only a right but a duty to combat their insiduous propaganda the way I would combat any other poisonous doctrine. I'll make no bones about that.

In other words, as a historian, this doesn't bother me much, because it's not claiming to be history as such. But I in no way abdicated my personal or political identity when I started studying history, and I find royalism offensive as a human being and a citizen who feels the dignity of both of these statuses. I won't pretend to be neutral on this issue. Any "debate" between royalism and the Revolution in the name of "fairness" is a false one, and still more one that takes the royalist side before it even begins.


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