Behind the velvet curtain

From the seamstresses to the set designers to the actors on stage, it’s all hands on deck for the MU Department of Theatre’s spring show: The Revolutionists.

April 28, 2022
Contact: Sara Diedrich, 573-882-3243,

This is a photo of an actor rehearsing a play
The University of Missouri Department of Theatre department is now showing The Revolutionists, its spring production directed by Claire Syler, assistant professor of theatre. The play is showing at 7:30 p.m. April 28 – 30 and 2 p.m. April 30 and May 1. at the Rhynsburger Theater. Learn more at
This is a photo of four actors performing in a play
The Revolutionists is set in 18th century France at the height of the French Revolution. The play follows four female leads (left to right), Marie-Antoinette played by Payton Woodruff, Marianne Angelle played by Chloe Oliphant, Olympe De Gouges played by Kasey Lynch, and Charlotte Corday played by Abby Uphoff.
This is a photo of person constructing a costume
The costumes for The Revolutionists were created by students in the MU Theatre Costume Shop, which is led by Marc W. Vital II, assistant professor of theatre. The Costume Shop handles the wardrobe for each theater production, including contemporary plays and period pieces like The Revolutionists.
This is a photo of a person lacing up a corset
The costumes for The Revolutionists reflect popular dress in 18th century France and include historical pieces such as a “stays,” which is similar to a corset, smoothing the under layers of an outfit and accentuating a woman’s figure.
This is a photo of a person working on a costume
Costumes were designed to match each character’s personality and status within the play. “For Marie Antoinette, we wanted her to feel decadent, so her fabrics are shiny and sparkly with lots of frothy details to make her look over the top wealthy, while our other characters have minimal decoration and more matte finishes,” Vital said.
This is a photo of an actor performing as Marie Antoinette
Payton Woodruff plays Marie Antoinette, who was the queen of France from 1774 to 1793 and was the last queen to reign before the French Revolution.
This is a photo of an actor performing in a play, holding a letter
Olympe de Gouge, played by Kasey Lynch, is based on a real playwright who lived during the French Revolution.
This is a photo of an actor performing in a play, crying while reading a letter
Marianne Angelle, played by Chloe Oliphant, is a free black woman from Saint Dominique, a French colony known today as Haiti.
This is a photo of a person yelling while performing in a play
Charlotte Corday, played by Abby Uphoff, is based on a real female revolutionist, known for the murder of prominent journalist Jean-Paul Marat.
This is a photo of a play director making notes during a play.
Though The Revolutionists takes place in 18th century France, Director Claire Syler believes the story remains relevant. “We are currently living in a time of intense interest in social justice and equity,” Syler said. “This play helps audiences grasp just how long women have been laboring for equal rights and how far we still have to go.”
This is a photo of an actor playing Marie Antoinette, standing in front of a guillotine
The guillotine played a major role in the French Revolution and is an important piece of the production of The Revolutionists. During the French revolution, over 10,000 people were executed by guillotine, including Marie Antoinette and her husband King Louis XVI.
This is a photo of a person painting a mask
Theatre at Mizzou began 100 years ago when a group of students gathered to discuss the creation of a theatre on campus. Now, MU theatre is a complete department, offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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