Heads will roll in Majestic Repertory’s ‘Marie Antoinette’

She’s the original Material Girl — or, if you’re into acronyms, OMG.

Which, come to think of it, is an appropriate abbreviation, considering the phrase’s place in her vocabulary.

“Oh, my God,” she says after asking for a spot of tea. “I’m picking up British affectations!”

But never fear. Those aren’t the only thoughts drifting around in her apparently empty head, which — SPOILER ALERT! — will eventually be separated from her body following a fateful, not to mention fatal, encounter with a guillotine in 1793, at the height of the French Revolution.

Yes, heads are destined to roll in Majestic Repertory Theatre’s “Marie Antoinette,” which continues through April 22 at the theater’s arts district playhouse.

Just don’t expect stately manners and minuets in playwright David Adjmi’s take on the OMG queen, whose utterances include the dismissive, and deathless (unlike Marie Antoinette herself), “Let them eat cake.” After all, as she observes, “I’m still a queen,” despite “the outcries of peasants. I have to disport myself. I cannot simply forfeit my luxuries.”

Adjmi’s play explores “the dramatic irony of knowing she’s on the chopping block,” director Troy Heard says of “Marie Antoinette’s” title character, played by Katie Marie Jones. “But she’s still semi-sympathetic,” in part because “she wasn’t happy in her marriage” to the childlike Louis XVI (Andrew Young).

“The night Louis and I were married there was a violent thunderstorm and they had to cancel the fireworks,” Marie recalls, “and it’s been like that ever since.”

Adjmi’s script gives you “a very interesting perspective,” Heard notes, featuring a cast of characters that includes a talking sheep (Richie Villafuerte) who warns Marie to change her lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous ways.

“Marie Antoinette’s” title character “just fits in very well” with contemporary issues, according to Heard, who likens the queen to Ivanka Trump — or such reality-TV stars as Kim Kardashian.

Part of Majestic’s “Revolutionary” second season, focusing on contemporary hot topics, “Marie Antoinette” presents “the flip side of ‘Kid Sister,’ ” which the theater staged last September. “That was all about the starving class,” Heard notes. “This is the one-percenters.”

To help realize the queen’s gilded-cage existence, Heard turned to three Cirque du Soleil artists: costume designer RuBen Permel, scenic designer John Rager and wig designer Bree Schiller. (As Marie says of her towering hairstyles, “Because of me, hairdos got so high they have raised the roofs … ”)

Heard wanted this production to be “the fever dream of a tweener on a sugar high,” he explains.

“Marie Antoinette” audiences will see about $12,000 in upgrades at Majestic’s Main Street theater — from installation of a drinking fountain to interior fencing to guide audiences to emergency exits — required to bring the space up to city building codes.

Those who contributed to the construction costs were eligible to become “beta testers” for “a show we’re developing,” Heard notes. Titled “Serial Killers You Know and Love,” the project launches later in April.

It’s one of several “immersive theater” productions that Heard plans for Majestic. (During his days running the Onyx Theatre, he staged two site-specific productions: “Motel” and “Jonestown.”)

Whether it’s a small-town meeting and pot-luck supper (for next season’s “Our Town”) or a Christmas party (in the holiday-season thriller “Krampus”), immersive staging provides “an emotional experience” that takes audience members out of their seats, the director explains.

“The show cannot occur without the audience,” Heard says. “You are a participant in it. It’s a psychological thrill.”

Majestic’s 2018-19 season

Downtown’s Majestic Repertory Theatre has two plays to go this season — the current “Marie Antoinette,” plus George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” in May, along with this month’s immersive, multipart “Serial Killers You Know and Love.” Here’s what’s coming for the troupe’s 2018-19 season:

■ “Cabaret” (Aug. 2-26): An intimate new staging of the classic Kander & Ebb musical set in divinely decadent 1930s Berlin.

■ “Measure for Measure” (Sept. 27-Oct. 21): Set in “Lost Wages,” an immersive update of Shakespeare’s tale about a vice-ridden sin city of naughty antics and knotty moral conflicts.

■ “A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney” (Nov. 1-25): A dark comedy from playwright Lucas Hnath (“The Christians”) about the quest for immortality.

■ “Krampus” (Dec. 6-23): Majestic’s artistic director, Troy Heard, scripts a thriller set at a family Christmas party.

■ “Spring Awakening” (Jan. 10-Feb. 3, 2019): The Las Vegas premiere of Duncan Sheik’s Tony-winning coming-of-age rock musical.

■ “Tight End” (Feb. 28-March 24, 2019): The regional premiere of Rachel Bykowski’s play about the daughter of a small-town football legend determined to follow in his cleated footsteps.

■ “Our Town” (April 11-May 5, 2019): An immersive version of Thornton Wilder’s classic drama of small-town life.

■ “The Legend of Georgia McBride” (May 23-June 16, 2019): Matthew Lopez’s new comedy about Elvis, drag queens and finding your own voice.

■ “Bigfoot” (June 28-July 14, 2019): A world premiere musical comedy.

Contact Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

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