Last year, ReAction Theatre received its first grant from Creative Partnerships Australia to develop the script of 'Les Mysteres du Louvre.' After what seemed a never ending stream of admin, we were finally able to take to the floor in March.
Carolyn Bock Myers and Paul Szymkowiak joined continuing collaborators Arta Mucaj, Alicia Beckhurst and Nath Sem for this development. We essentially focused on the character of Agnes, a character that we hadn't had time to focus on during the Arena residency. She was a cantiniere in Napoleon's army (a woman who cooked and served alcohol to the soldiers) but not just any cantiniere! She was one of a rare breed, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, known as a "Volunteer of '92." She would have been one of the few women to step forward in 1792, when the war to protect the French Revolution first began. Therefore, it feels important to honour this woman's legacy ironic as it is, as there is hardly any information about her.
There were a number of scenes that we wanted to try to flesh out - Agnes preparing the food at the camp for Napoleon's soldiers; her life as a peasant near the French-Italian border: the first time she meets her future husband; her life on the battlefields of France; the day she boards the fateful frigate, The Medusa, on its way to Senegal and, lastly, her eventual murder. This scene, in particular, needed to ramp up! Julianne O'Brien (Windmill theatre Co) assessed our script leading in to this development and she had spoken at the Currency House Platform Paper Launch of not being afraid to go to 'dark places' in children's theatre. So, we experimented with making her murder much more graphic and violent.
There was passionate debate, loads of ideas, boundary pushing and incredible achievements! The script has taken a giant leap forward. It's on to another script assessment and more rewrites before we get into the tech.