Voltaire’s Meteor, a new play by David Walter Hall, explores the life of Jean Meslier (1664–1729), a French Catholic priest and the author of a bitter atheistic “testament”, a 600-page manuscript which he left for the world after his death. He was a little-known hero of the Enlightenment, and an instigator of the socialist ideals of the French Revolution.
The story follows Jean as he leads a double life, conforming by day to religious fundamentalism, and passionately composing his legacy in private by night. Fearing death at the hands of the authorities if his work is discovered, he begins to imagine himself coming face to face with his executioner, struggling to justify his alarming heretical atheistic beliefs. Meanwhile, his one-time protégé has come to stay, betraying Jean’s egalitarian principles by taking a job in Reims Cathedral, and the coldest of winters and the cruelty of the local squire have together cast a deadly chill over the village. From within this gloom, the unimaginable happens: his writing is discovered by his housekeeper, who flees in shock, disappearing into the frosty night.
A production is currently being planned at a London venue in 2016. More details will be announced here soon. In the mean time, have a look around and get in touch if you’ve any questions.