Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette Dazzles at OU with Contemporary Flair

By Glenda Rice Collins

Norman, Okla., USA — Portraying the iconic royal who was “…not raised, but built to be this thing,” Elyssa Armenta mesmerizes with details of Marie’s teenage marriage into the realms of whimsical 1770’s-1790’s French customs and expectations, in David Adjmi’s contemporary spin on history, as his Marie Antoinette continues this weekend at the University of Oklahoma. Evan Wolfe uniquely captures the essence of the somewhat befuddled, and sexually reluctant Louis XVI, as final OU University Theatre performances evolve April 27 – 29 at 8 p.m. and April 30 at 3 p.m. in the Weitzenhoffer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave. in the OU Arts District.

At-home viewing will be available with video-on-demand. To learn more and to purchase tickets please visit

OU drama performance senior Elyssa Armenta stars as Marie Antoinette in the current production of David Adjmi’s contemporary version of the young queen’s life and final days, from the French Enlightenment to the Reign of Terror. Brava! Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.

Guest director Melissa Rain Anderson presides over the details of this provocative production, which contains adult content, violence and lasers. Anderson’s acting credits include co-starring roles on television, Off-Broadway, regional and several cast recordings.

Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi is a heightened and stylistic examination of the life and final days of the infamous French Queen,” Anderson said. “The play shines a mirror up to our contemporary society, skewering the one percenters. As shown through Marie’s eye, she claims to be ‘trapped’ within her royal position. ‘I wasn’t raised, I was built, built to be this thing, and now they’re killing me for it.’ Our production is visually stunning with costume and scenic designs overflowing with gorgeous fabrics, robust paints and huge wigs! The language is quite contemporary and accessible for a modern audience, so I decided to match that tone with contemporary punk and rock music throughout. We are fully immersed in both the extravagance of the period and the savagery of the French Revolution.”  Anderson lives in New York City with her husband, actor Jim Poulos. To learn more, please visit

Dr. Kate Busselle, Marie Antoinette violence and intimacy designer, is assistant professor of movement and stage combat at OU. The elaborate-costume designer, Lloyd Cracknell, a native of Cambridge, England, –now resident costume designer and associate professor at OU — brings international experience from the fashion houses of Versace and The Emanuels along with vast expertise in costume design in all genres of the performing arts.

–Expect to see the stylized glamour and extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s turbulent Parisian days reflected with finesse in this current staging, set at “Versailles. Paris, and Environs, France.”

An early scene in David Adjmi’s play, Marie Antoinette, as presented by OU University Theatre, exhibits the French royal extravagance of the period, as Marie soon claims to be trapped within her royal position. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.

The engaging cast for the current production of Marie Antoinette includes Helmerich School of Drama students: Elyssa Armenta, Eli Farney, Xavier Gutierrez, Joseph Hoffman, Granger Lusk, McCall McCarty, Lilly McCullough, Aubrey Miller, Cassie Pierce, Devin Ricklef, Regan Rodgers, Nattalie Skylar Spring, Ethan Walker and Evan Wolfe. Bravo!

The design staff includes: Steven Kendall, scenic designer; Logan Wynn, lighting designer; Richard L. Sprecker, sound designer; and Brawna Gfeller, wig designer.  

In David Adjmi’s play, Marie Antoinette (Elyssa Armenta) is a confection created by a society that values extravagance and artifice. But France’s love affair with the royal sours as revolution brews, rumors prevail, and for Marie, the political suddenly becomes quite personal. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins.


In-person advance purchase tickets for Marie Antoinette are $30 for adults; $25 for senior adults, OU employees and military; and $12 for students, plus a processing fee. Tickets at the door are $40 for adults and $15 for students with student ID.

Live Stream will be available for select performances. Please visit for details. 

Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling (405) 325-4101, or by visiting the OU Fine Arts Box Office in Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St. For accommodations, please call the box office at (405) 325-4101. 

The OU University Theatre cast of David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette acknowledges applause following a recent performance at the Weitzenhoffer Theatre. Photo by Glenda Rice Collins

About the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts   

Established in 1924, the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts is an integral part of the University of Oklahoma. Located in Norman, Oklahoma, the college recognizes the universal language of the arts and its crucial role in creating and sustaining a vibrant, culturally diverse environment. The college is committed to a standard of excellence in the fine arts encompassing the university’s directive for teaching, research/creative activity, and service in its schools of dance, drama, music, musical theatre and visual arts. For more information visit

#######glenda rice collins 4-27-23

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