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The Craziest True-Life Story You've Never Heard

  • Patrick Brown

Revenge Song is inspired by the true-life story of Julie d’Aubigny, a 17th century French woman whose flamboyant lifestyle became the subject of gossip and legend within her own time.

The Vampire Cowboys’ story begins with young Julie, who at the age of 14 disguised herself as a boy to work in the stables of Count Louis de Lorraine (the horseman to King Louis XIV) where she trained to fence and fight. After discovering that Julie was in fact a girl, Louis brings her into the main house as his, ahem, “personal assistant.”

Subsequently, and in no particular order:

  • Julie meets Albert, a nobleman who challenges her to a duel—not realizing she was a woman. They fight, she wounds him, and nurses him back to health. They become lovers, and eventually lifelong friends.
  • Julie rescues her girlfriend from a convent by grave robbing a corpse from the cemetery, placing the body in her girlfriend’s bed, setting it on fire, and accidentally burning down the convent.
  • Julie attends a society ball and causes a scene when she kisses a mademoiselle. Three men challenge her to a duel and she beats them all on the spot.
  • Julie is sentenced to death for that little convent incident, but escapes to Paris where she becomes an opera singer and defends chorus girls from lecherous tenors.

And that’s just a fraction of her stranger-than-fiction true life story. As the play’s narrator Madame de Senneterre poetically pontificates, “She floats in between destruction and desire. Too strong to be with men, but too weak to be with women.”

“It has all the hallmarks of a classic Vampire Cowboys production,” says writer Qui Nguyen (Vietgone, She Kills Monsters). “Sex, violence, music, sacrilege, comedy, female empowerment, gender-bending, and over-the-top theatrical twists all take me back to my theater roots with the Vampire Cowboys. Audiences will be in for a wild ride when they meet our Julie d’Aubigny at Geffen Playhouse.”

Revenge Song: A Vampire Cowboys Creation

FEB 2 - MAR 8, 2020
Written by Qui Nguyen
Directed by Robert Ross Parker
Featuring the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company

A rousing, romping, music-filled look at the real life of Julie d’Aubigny, a queer 17th century French swordswoman and opera singer, Revenge Song is a heroine’s journey toward self-discovery and acceptance. In this world premiere Geffen Playhouse commission, conversations about gender and sexuality blend together with the outrageous fun and superhero style of the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company to create a genre unto itself—a hilarious, historical comedy with hip hop, rock and epic fight scenes.

Major support for this world premiere production provided by the Edgerton Foundation New Play Production Fund.


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