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'The Revolutionists' gives a voice to women throughout history

As director of "The Revolutionists," Stormi Bledscoe likes to begin every rehearsal with a dance party.

"We had a request for the Electric Slide," she announced to the cast and crew at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28, their last rehearsal before adding technical elements.

The four actors hopped up on the stage and began doing the Electric Slide, with Bledscoe and some of the crew members joining in too.

After that came "Cupid Shuffle," then "Cotton-Eyed Joe," "Work It" by Missy Elliot and "Worth It" by Fifth Harmony.

Music, stomping feet and the occasional "Whoop!" echoed through Studio 88, which can seat about 90 people. On the evening of the rehearsal, however, there were only the nine female members of the cast and crew in the room.

"The Revolutionists" by Lauren Gunderson is a comedy that follows four historical women during the French Revolution: assassin Charlotte Corday played by sophomore Elizabeth Bode, playwright Olympe de Gouges played by junior Marjorie Trimble, Queen Marie Antoinette played by senior Abby Murray and anti-slavery activist Marianne Angelle played by senior Vaysha Ramsey-Anderson.

Bledscoe graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BFA in Acting in 2017, and is a second-year graduate student at Miami working toward her masters degree in theatre and practice. While at NKU, she got tickets to see the the premiere of "The Revolutionists" in 2016 at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She fell in love with it.

"I loved that the story highlighted women's history and the history that really did happen and that we just haven't heard about," Bledscoe said.

As a part of her audition to direct Miami's production of the play, Bledscoe directed the opening scene and presented it in her directing class. Murray, a theatre major, was in the class, and though she hadn't heard of "The Revolutionists" before, she liked what she saw.

"Immediately, I knew that this play was something special," Murray said.

Trimble, a theatre and strategic communications double major, decided to audition before even reading the script, drawn to the idea of an all-female cast.

"It took me forever to read the play, but I already knew I was going to audition because I heard 'four-woman show?' Hell yeah," Trimble said. "Once one of my friends finally convinced me to read the play, I was hooked."

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Though the play is set in historical France, many of the themes, such as sexism and feminism, are still relevant today.

"Lauren Gunderson [the playwright] has this quote, 'The only difference between the women in this play and us now is 200 years and a continent,'" Bledscoe said. "These women are trying to find their voice in a time of political upheaval and I think we can relate to a lot of what is said in the script...Because telling stories is very powerful, and when we tell stories, we give power to these stories."

The cast and crew hope to inspire the audience through the stories of these revolutionary women.

"Fight for what you believe in," Trimble said. "It doesn't matter what you believe in, but as long as you believe in it, fight for it. Oh, and respect women. Respect everyone. They may be different, but they're still human."

"The Revolutionists" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 6-9 and at 2 p.m. on March 10 in Studio 88, located in the basement of the Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $8 for students and $12 for adults and can be purchased at the box office or at the door.

"It will make you laugh until you cry," said Murray. "It may make you actually cry."