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OVERVIEW

A rousing, romping, music-filled look at the real life of Julie d’Aubigny, a queer 17th century French swordswoman and opera singer, Revenge Song is a heroine’s journey toward self-discovery and acceptance. In this world premiere Geffen Playhouse commission, conversations about gender and sexuality blend together with the outrageous fun and superhero style of the Vampire Cowboys to create a genre unto itself—a hilarious, historical comedy with epic fight scenes and a punk rock attitude.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Revenge Song is inspired by the true-life story of Julie d’Aubigny, a 17th century French woman whose flamboyant lifestyle became the subject of gossip and legend within her own time.

The Vampire Cowboys’ story begins with young Julie, who at the age of 14 disguised herself as a boy to work in the stables of Count Louis de Lorraine (the horseman to King Louis XIV) where she trained to fence and fight. After discovering that Julie was in fact a girl, Louis brings her into the main house as his, ahem, “personal assistant.”

Subsequently, and in no particular order:

  • Julie meets Albert, a nobleman who challenges her to a duel—not realizing she was a woman. They fight, she wounds him, and nurses him back to health. They become lovers, and eventually lifelong friends.
  • Julie rescues her girlfriend from a convent by grave robbing a corpse from the cemetery, placing the body in her girlfriend’s bed, setting it on fire, and accidentally burning down the convent.
  • Julie attends a society ball and causes a scene when she kisses a mademoiselle. Three men challenge her to a duel and she beats them all on the spot.
  • Julie is sentenced to death for that little convent incident, but escapes to Paris where she becomes an opera singer and defends chorus girls from lecherous tenors.

And that’s just a fraction of her stranger-than-fiction true life story. As the play’s narrator Madame de Senneterre says, “She floats in between destruction and desire. Too strong to be with men, but too weak to be with women.”

This play was commissioned as part of the Geffen Playhouse's New Play Development Program thanks to the generosity of The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Major support for this world premiere production provided by the Edgerton Foundation New Play Production Fund. Developed in part with CalArts Center for New Performance and with assistance from the Orchard Project, Ari Edelson, Artistic Director.

Performance Information

Runtime
2 hours, including one 15 minute intermission
Warnings

This production contains strong sexual content, explicit language, stage violence, strobe lighting effects, theatrical haze, and is not recommended to those under the age of 14.

Gil Cates Theater
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“This rowdy, crowd-pleasing show operates like a pop cultural Cuisinart.” “Like a comic book come to huge, colorful life.” “Making good on its promise to deliver generous helpings of sex, violence and sacrilege.” “This rowdy, crowd-pleasing show operates like a pop cultural Cuisinart.” “Like a comic book come to huge, colorful life.” “Making good on its promise to deliver generous helpings of sex, violence and sacrilege.” “This rowdy, crowd-pleasing show operates like a pop cultural Cuisinart.” “Like a comic book come to huge, colorful life.” “Making good on its promise to deliver generous helpings of sex, violence and sacrilege.”

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