Director’s Note for Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh

Photo by Jasmin Hunter

Photo by Jasmin Hunter

For a production company made up of two people who are obsessed with historical fiction, it is almost criminal how many years have passed between our last historical production to this one. In 2010, Danica Carlson and I set out to create the most sumptuous and realistic version of the mid- 17th Century that we were able to with our limited resources for our production of The Libertine. We wanted to create the perfect ambiance for our audiences to feel that they have been transported back in time to the intimate private chambers of the Second Earl of Rochester and the theater he so adored. It was so exciting to us, this re-creation of another time and place, a place that existed real human beings living their lives day to day without modern conventions and distractions and what that might look and feel like.

When I picked up Joel Gross’s beautifully crafted script of Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh, I was immediately transported into Marie’s lovely and tragic world and I experienced a visceral reaction, a need to tell this story of deceit, friendship and ultimately love. What struck me most about these incredible characters, was their vulnerability and passion for one another, living authentically for each fleeting moment. The script itself is written as a sort of dance, with each character drifting into one another’s lives, which just made it all the more enticing for me as a director and storyteller.

I have been truly blessed with three of the finest performers on the Seacoast to share this beautiful story with all of you. This show would be nothing without their incredible passion and devotion to these characters that they have fully embraced and made their own. This has been an intense process and a whirlwind of emotions for these performers, and I am eternally grateful that they have put their faith and trust into this journey with me. This production has truly been a collaboration, with our entire cast and crew wearing many hats and bringing a multitude of talents to the table – from costume, wig and prop making to set design, building, painting and graphic & sound design, everyone involved in this production has pitched in and multitasked to make Versailles a magnificent reality for you to enjoy…

Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh
May 9th through May 25th

Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm
Sunday 5/11 & 5/18 at 8 pm
Sunday 5/25 at 2 pm

Players’ Ring Theatre
105 Marcy Street Portsmouth, NH
Call for reservations 603-436-8123 or purchase tickets online

Meet the Cast: Jennifer Henry as Marie Antoinette

Jennifer Henry

Jennifer Henry is so excited to work with the fearless women of Back Alley Productions. Hailing from rural Pennsylvania, Jennifer holds three degrees in music, theatre, and technical theatre and design. She has worked as an actor, director, choreographer, and educator in 46 of the 50 United States. After serving as Assistant Director of Education and a Resident Company member at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN, she moved back north with the love of her life to teach voice, movement, and acting. Jennifer is also a referee for NH’s largest paintball park, OSG Paintball. She is eager to learn if blondes do, in fact, have more fun. Catch her work next in the direction of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, opening October 31 at The Player’s Ring.

“Being offered the opportunity to be the voice of Marie Antoinette, possibly the most famous, most gossiped about, most misunderstood woman in history, is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Marie is an enigma. Naïve, she was married to Louis as the signature on a peace treaty, when she was 14. 14! At that age, to be catapulted into international super stardom, while barely being able to speak the language of the place where she is Queen, and to have the pressure of being the peace of a nation… yowza. Finding a balance between that naivety, and the noble grace and poise that she showed to the public (even into the last moments of her life), has been daunting for me. I’m exhausted just thinking about what this woman endured! Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh, is a wonderful way to glimpse into the life of this fascinating woman, and those around her. The time period allows for opulent, gorgeous costuming, and a setting so rich and luxurious it’s almost embarrassing. The relationships she has with both Elisa and Alexis gives us a dynamic and fresh look into what happened to this tragic figure.

While daunting, this production has been exhilarating and so fun to be a part of. I am so humbled to be a part of this intimate cast with Danica and Knate. I am very thankful to be in the capable embrace of director Joi Smith. Kaitlyn Huwe is not only so knowledgeable of this time period, but such a great springboard for so many ideas. Rehearsals have been such an open, positive, electric experience. What a great collaboration. Let’s play, y’all! Come see the show, opening May 9th.”

Marie Antoinette 1767

Meet the Cast: Knate Higgins as Count Alexis de Ligne

Knate Higgins

A Portland Maine native, Knate now calls the seacoast his home. He is overjoyed to be working with this group of fearless and free females. Bringing this story to life is a constant joy and it is a beautiful time piece in the tapestry of history. Knate is a spotlight award nominee this year and a proud resident actor of the Seacoast Repertory Theatre (as well as their special series curator). Past roles include: Berger from “HAIR”, Snoopy from “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, Tobias from “Sweeney Todd”, Roger from “RENT”, Hedwig from “Hedwig and The Angry Inch”, and Willy Wonka from “Willy Wonka” at the Prescott Park Arts Festival

Knate would like to thank Joi Smith and all of the ladies who made this sensual bite so flavorful.

“Let them eat cake…”

Count Axel von Fersen