Passionate. Brilliant. Defiant. Tonight, 18th century scientific genius Émilie du Châtelet is back and determined to answer the question she died with: love or philosophy, head or heart?
Play title: Émilie: La Marquis du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight
Author: Lauren Gunderson
Publisher: Samuel French Inc.
Publication Date: 2010
Primary Discipline: Physics
Secondary Discipline: Mathematics
Scientist (s): Émilie du Châtelet, Gottfried Leibniz, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, Sir Isaac Newton, Dortous de Mairan
Source Texts: “Émilie du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment” by Dr. Judith Zinsser.
Character Breakdown: 2 men, 3 women
Emilie, Voltaire, Madam, Gentleman, and Soubrette.
Character pairings: Soubrette (Mary-Louise, Daughter)
Gentleman (Jean-Francois, The Marquis, Maupertuis, Marain)
Madam (Mother, Madam Graffigny)
Setting: A blank theater space. Eventually: Center stage chalkboard, a doorframe, two desks, chairs, and a bed – all of these are mobile. All sets and set-pieces should be reminiscent of a French 18th century aesthetic.
Time Period: Roughly 1730s-1740s
Synopsis of Play: Passionate. Brilliant. Defiant. Tonight, 18th century scientific genius Émilie du Châtelet is back and determined to answer the question she died with: love or philosophy, head or heart? In this highly theatrical rediscovery of one of history’s most vibrant, witty, and intriguing women, Emilie defends her life and loves and ends up with both a formula and legacy that permeates history.
First Performance Date: April 24th, 2009
First Producer: South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California
Performance History: Émilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson was first produced by the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California on April 24, 2009. The performance was directed by David Emmes, with sets by Cameron Anderson, costumes by Nephelie Andonyadis, lighting by Lonnie Rafael alcaraz, original music and sound design by Vincent Olivieri, movement direction by Gabriela Estrada, and dramaturgy by Kelly L. Miller. The production stage manager was Jennifer Ellen Butler.
Entered by: Denise Gillman/Brooke Sanders