Madame Defarge is one of Dickens' supreme villainesses. Her secret drives her to seek a revenge so strong that it ties her to the French revolution. In this short play, the main story of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities becomes the peripheral story to that of Madame Defarge and her single-minded revenge. As the full company gathers to speak Dickens' immortal lines "It was the best of times-it was the worst of times…" Madame Defarge is revealed in her husband's wine shop in the poorest district of Paris. From here her plots and machinations involve the innocent Lucie Manette and her father, Dr. Manette, returned to life after an 18-year imprisonment in the Bastille, and the heroic Charles Darnay and his wicked uncle, the Marquis St. Evremonde. Somehow they are all involved in Madame Defarge's secret, which is revealed in the climactic trial scene before the French tribunal-where the convicted are sent to La Guillotine. This hair-raising drama unfolds at a lightning pace and beautifully dramatizes the reasons the poor of France revolted. A myriad of interesting characters and a great ensemble opportunity play out this unusual slant on Dickens' classic novel.
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