Because I also used it as a capstone project to finish my Teacher Certification with the National Michael Chekhov Association, this production and my process on it were more heavily documented than might otherwise have been done. You can view this material HERE, including an image gallery, rehearsal footage, program, and my extensive analysis document.
LEGACY OF LIGHT, to me, embodies so much of what theatre is for. It
entertains with humor, passion, and excitement, it educates historically, socially,
and scientifically, and it inspires us intellectually and creatively to examine our
own beliefs and ideas. What’s more, it does so in a tight package built solely on
love – not dogmatic, not confrontational or accusatory, but loving.
The true-life story of Émilie and Voltaire is well worth digging into thoroughly,
a process I’ve greatly enjoyed as I’ve sought out the headwaters of this play. Their
passion, their adventures, and their contributions are so inherently theatrical it’s
sometimes hard to see how Zacarías chose what to leave out. The Enlightenment
ideas they helped create in turn shaped our nation and society, that of Olivia and
Peter and Millie and Lewis, and of the University of Wyoming. Émilie, partly
filtered through Voltaire’s observations, came to define philosophical optimism,
and his firm beliefs on justice and society, formed during his travels and tribulations
throughout Europe, are clearly manifest in the foundational documents of our
nation, and of our “equality state.”
The process of rehearsing this play has challenged me to examine my own values
in a very Enlightenment manner, balancing but not segregating intellect, passion,
and will, a desire to personally create a refined aesthetic with the desire to manifest
a just democratic process, all guided by a wish to illuminate society with the
potential of ideas. I hope you enjoy the show, and may you find it sheds some
light on your own journey.