(LENOX, Mass.) – WAM Theatre’s production of “Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” by Lauren Gunderson will make the rounds of three locations in the Berkshires and the Capital Region of New York, reviving this critically acclaimed enhanced staged reading this week, beginning Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at the ’62 Center at Williams College; continuing in the Performing Arts Center at State University at Albany on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 7:30 pm; and concluding its three-night run at Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield on Friday, February 13, at 7:30 pm, as part of the Pittsfield 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival. This enhanced staged reading will feature some audio and visual elements from the original production.
While today she is best known for her fifteen-year liaison with Voltaire, Emilie Du Chatelet (1706-1749) was more than a great man’s mistress. She was one of the leading interpreters of modern physics in Europe, as well as a master of mathematics and linguistics, during the Age of Enlightenment. After marrying a marquis at the age of eighteen, she proceeded to fulfill the prescribed-and delightfully frivolous-role of a French noblewoman of her time. But she also challenged it, conducting a highly visible affair with a commoner, writing philosophical works, and translating Newton’s “Principia” while pregnant by a younger lover. In this play Emilie must defend her life by tallying her achievements in Love and Philosophy — and searching for a formula that will convince the world of her worth.
Directed by WAM Theatre Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, much of the acclaimed original cast returns. Kim Stauffer reprises the title role as Emilie and is joined by returning cast members Suzanne Ankrum, Brendan Cataldo and Joan Coombs as Soubrette, Gentleman and Madam, respectively, along with new cast member Timothy Carter (National Tour of The Lion King, Adirondack Theatre Festival’s The Whale) as Voltaire.
Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight had its world premiere in 2009 at South Coast Repertory Theatre. The play has been described as ‘fiercely inquisitive and joyfully sexy’ (The San Francisco Chronicle), ‘An evening of humor and heartbreak’ (BroadwayWorld) and as an ‘ambitious, highly theatrical romp that literally crackles with electricity’ (LA/OC Examiner).
Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven to create professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls. WAM Theatre also has a philanthropic mission, inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.
Over the past five years, WAM Theatre has donated more than $15,000 to seven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 100 theatre artists. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. For more information, visit