Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight
Written by Lauren Gunderson, Directed by Karen Paisley
The Metropolitian Ensemble Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri
Emilie du Châtelet was a fanscinating woman - a scientist and a scholar in pre-revolutionary France whose work became recognized by the Acadmie and even published. She was a lover of Voltaire, a student of Newton, and a fervent believer of Leibniz and his work with Force Vive (literaly 'living force'), the squaring of velocity in Newton's F=mv equation. Her work to prove Force Vive places her in a scientific lineage between Newton and Einstien.
This script allows la Marquise to relieve the moments in her life that defined her journey after her death, because as she expresses in the prologue "I am not done yet". The audience follows as she learns, fights, fails, suceeds, and even loves, until the scene where Emilie takes her own hand and decides that she is enough, even if she never proved Force Vive.
The set began from a line in the show that says "We built the biggest library in the world and lived in it." Allowing the actors a place that was functional as a labratory, library, parlor, opera house, stage, bedroom, and the in-between of life and death before Emilie moves on. The compass alludes to a famous story about la Marquise stealing a compass to play with instead of her dolls. The open book stage right depicts her own experiments.
Director: Karen Paisley
Lighting Designer: Karen Paisley
Scenic Designer: Sarah White
Properties Master: Marc Manley