“Émilie: The Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” kicks off Georgia Southern 2018-2019 theatre season

Rachel Adams

The Georgia Southern University Theatre program is kicking off its 2018-2019 season Sept. 26 with “Émilie: The Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight.”

The GS Theatre program puts on a wide range of plays in many periods and genres and “Émilie” is what Director Lisa Abbott describes as a “metatheatrical piece.”

This type of piece deals with the nature of the play as a piece of drama and includes the characters addressing the audience directly, unlike other types of plays.

Émilie lived in France in the early 18th century until her death in 1749. The play is told from her perspective after death as she looks over her memories and tries to decide which was more important in the long-run: science or love.

“She’s just this amazing woman ahead of her time,” Abbott said. “So, Gunderson takes this idea and, by exploring her life, looks at the challenges that she faced as a woman in that society, but also looks at a really different aspect of being a woman in a male-dominated world.”

Another principal character in the play is Voltaire, who was a famous writer and philosopher, and also Émilie’s lover. Many of the scenes touch on Émilie and Voltaire’s relationship throughout her life.

The cast

The cast of “Émilie” is made up of seven actors, all GS students. Josephine “Joey” Hukin, a sophomore theatre major, and Bryce Hargrove, a junior public relations major, play Émilie and Voltaire, respectively.

Both Hukin and Hargrove are excited to perform. They have immersed themselves in their characters during rehearsals in the past months leading up to the start of the play.

“Émilie is a very determined, independent woman,” Hukin said. “She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it, and she has the means to get it because her husband is very wealthy. She disregards most of the societal norms, so it doesn’t bother her if she’s going against them.”

Hargrove shared his thoughts on Voltaire.

“Voltaire, I think, is a guy who’s just motivated to get what he wants and be perceived only by the way he sees fit,” Hargrove said. “He doesn’t really care what people think of him, because he knows that he’s one of the best at what he does, and that’s art and writing and creating things, and he seeks a lot from Émilie in a lot of different fashions. He’s definitely a go-getter. He’s someone who’s firm in his beliefs, someone who’s also stubborn at times.”

The show’s impact on the community

Because the theatre program puts on such a wide range of plays every year, it does a fantastic job of spreading different types of theatre to both the students of GS and the surrounding community, Abbott said.

“We do have an obligation to the community, to expose them to different kinds of theatre,” Abbott said. “And then, for our students, they need to be able to get out there and show that they can do Shakespeare to ‘Chicago’ and everything in between.”

The play promises to be very engaging, with a handmade set, period-accurate costumes and fantastic performances from all the actors involved.

“It’s a fascinating show intellectually, it’s a rewarding show emotionally, and it’s a gorgeous show visually,” Abbott said.

The play will run from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3. Ticket information can be found on the College of Art and Theatre’s website.

Rachel Adams, The George-Anne News Reporter, ganewsed@georgiasouthern.edu