Behind “The Revolutionists”



The stars of Henderson theatre’s presentation of “The Revolutionists” pose in costume (from left to right:) Suzy Hill, Sophie Burke, Zandora Chinwah and Natalie Gray.

Even though last week’s icy weather led to the cancellation of its opening night, the Henderson theater department’s production of The Revolutionist successfully ran from Feb. 4 to Feb. 28. The cast included Zandora Chinwah, Suzy Hill, Natalie Gray, Sophie Burke, and was directed by Professor of Theater Arts, William Henshaw.
The Revolutionist revolves around four women in eighteenth-century France during the Reign of Terror. Three of these women are based on actual historical figures, including Burke’s character, Marie Antoinette.
“[Playing a character based on a real historical figure] is all about balance, and it can be really difficult, especially when your character is so well known,” said Burke, who mentioned she struggled to play a role of such importance, “However, it can be really cool because a lot of your character is already there. You get a base to build your performance on instead of creating a fictional character.”
However, the fourth character, played by Chinwah, stands out from the other three in origin. Her name is Marianne Angelle, and she holds a more representational role in the production’s plot.
“Marianne is the only character who is not one singular person,” said Chinwah. “Marianne is real, but she’s an amalgamation of a bunch of people who fought for freedom and equality for Caribbean slaves. With her character there is so much to be found because she is made up of so many different people … I was kind of spoiled for choice when it came to finding those elements of Marianne that I wanted to utilize for my character.”
Though the characters lived over 200 years ago, the actresses worked hard to translate their characters to today’s audience, especially considering its persistent relevance.
“The irony of the show is that it was written in 2012, about the French Revolution, and in 2022 it’s all still relevant,” said Chinwah. “We’re still fighting all the same battles for freedom and equality, maybe not with a guillotine, but it’s all still there.”
The final performance of the Revolutionist was held on Monday and left a lot of the cast and crew feeling proud. While it was sad to see them go, Gray mentions, “It’s nice to just wrap [the characters] up and put them away nicely. This show will always be in this space, the memories of it will always be here. We paint over the stage after every production, so even after we are all gone, this floor will still be here under a coat of paint.”
All four actresses will star in the theater department’s upcoming production of Antigone, which is set to run from April 14 to 18. To learn more about the production, visit