'Pimpernel' adds some twists to the French Revolution tale
Greensburg Civic Theatre's adaptation of “The Scarlet Pimpernel” should appeal to theatergoers with a wide range of interests — from history buffs and fans of classic literature to anyone with a strong penchant for a good old-fashioned sword fight.
With elements of suspense, drama, comedy, romance and tragedy, “I dare say that it would make a pretty good ‘date show,' ” director Rob MacIntyre says.
Greensburg Civic Theatre's version of “Scarlet Pimpernel” is adapted by Deborah Mulhall from the famous novel by Baroness Orczy, which takes place in 1792 during the French Revolution. Although it upholds the spirit and storyline of the novel, MacIntyre says this retelling of the classic literary work contains plot twists and character portrayals that will surprise the audience.
“It is a huge deviation from what I did with ‘The Three Musketeers' two years ago, where I tried to stick as closely to the source material as I could,” he says. “With ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel,' we took a little bit more of a free hand.”
Rachel Dillinger portrays Marguerite St. Just, a beautiful French actress who flees from France to England to escape an unhappy marriage. She meets up with a man from her past, Paul Chauvelin (Mike Krcil), a leader of the French Revolution, who blackmails her into setting a trap for the Scarlet Pimpernel, a wanted man for smuggling aristocrats out of France to England.
“She is haunted by her past and is forced to make hard choices, all the while maintaining an aura of glamour and political popularity in London's court,” Dillinger says. “She lives two lives, in a sense, and she isn't the only one in the show who must carry such duality.”
Scott Walton plays the title character, Sir Percy Blakeney, whom he describes as “the original hero with a dual identity.” Even though he appears not to have any cares, he places the lives of himself and other members of the Scarlet Pimpernel's band in jeopardy to their quest to save people's lives.
Krcil says the Greensburg Civic Theatre production has a few different morals laced within the story.
“From Chauvelin, there's an unspoken warning as to what can happen when you lose sight of your goal. Overall, though, I think there's a theme of needing to be able to trust and be trusted by the ones you love and who love you,” he says.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.