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Production History

Emilie: La Marquise du Ch√Ętelet Defends Her Life Tonight

Regional Premiere Runs Feb 19 through March 6

Lauren Gunderson's reality-bending play explores the life and loves of Emilie du Châtelet, a scientific genius of 18th century France. Women of her era were considered too simple-minded to understand mathematics or physics, but Emilie produced work ranging from a groundbreaking paper on the nature of fire (the first by a woman ever published by the Paris Academy) to essays on Liebniz and Locke, to a celebrated and still-used translation and commentary on Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. She was married to a nobleman of the court of Louis XV, and took a series of lovers, including the writer and philosopher Voltaire.

In the play, Emilie is returned from the afterlife to recount and defend her life. Assisted by an ensemble of four, she replays her relationships with family, colleagues and lovers, and examines her unanswered questions about life and love, science and philosophy. In language that is thoroughly clear to today's audiences, Gunderson examines the corseted world of upper-class women in the time of Louis XV. We see Emilie's eager appetite for both scientific knowledge and unconventional romance. And, we share in her urgent desire to reconcile her pursuit of love and learning.

Logos of HCA TriStar, Metro Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission

What the critics say:

"A spirited and imaginative journey"
- Jeffrey Ellis, Broadway World Nashville

"Smart, funny and thought-provoking"
- Amy Stumpfl, The Tennessean
• February 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, March 3, 4 & 5 at 7:30 pm
• February 21, 28 & March 6 at 2:30 pm

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