Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

The Revolutionists
6th Street Playhouse
Review by Mitchell Field | Season Schedule

Lydia Revelos
Photo by Eric Chazankin
Playwright Lauren Gunderson was recently described by The New Yorker as America's most popular playwright who you've probably never heard of. Indeed, in 2018 Gunderson, age 36, was America's most produced playwright (OK, if you don't count Shakespeare), and she is currently playwright-in-residence at Marin Theater Company in Mill Valley. Her newest play, The Revolutionists, is playing at 6th Street Playhouse through April 7.

A typical Gunderson character is like Gunderson herself: uber-literate, smart and quick-quipping. The feminist fantasy-comedy The Revolutionists brings together four women: the real-life playwright Olympe de Gouges (Tara Howley Hudson), deposed former-queen Marie Antoinette (Lydia Revelos), the assassin Charlotte Corday (Chandler Parrott-Thomas), and Caribbean anti-slavery revolutionary Marianne Angelle (Serena Elize Flores).

The visitors need de Gouges' writing talents for their own political reasons but writer's block is keeping her from producing anything, so in typical fast-talking Gunderson style the four women debate the important points of the play (i.e., "Is art really any practical use as political resistance" and ultimately, whether words can create truth) while outside Madame la Guillotine severs heads.

The play actually takes place in Olympe's mind with the inner monologue being her coming-to-terms with her own execution. She knew she was in trouble because in 1791 she'd called for gender equality in marriage and the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean's French colonies.

Director Lennie Dean elicits terrific performances from her cast, with The Revolutionists' tag line at 6th Street being "Four bad-ass women rewrite the French Revolution!"

Gunderson manages to do it in a funny and slick couple of hours.

The Revolutionists, through April 7, 2019, at 6th St. Playhouse, Studio Theatre, 52 W. 6th St. Santa Rosa CA. For information and tickets, visit or call 707-523-4185, ext 1,