What Is the Story of Venus in Fur?
As David Ives’ new play begins, we meet a modern-day playwright/director who has written an adaptation of Venus in Fur, the 1870 novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch that became infamous when the author’s last name inspired the term “sado-masochism” to describe the interplay of sex and power in the book. An actress arrives to audition, her bag filled with S&M gear and period costumes. Soon the playwright is drawn into reading his own script with this mysterious young woman, with breaks to argue about the meaning of the story and the motivation of the characters.
David Ives’ slick comedy is also about two people ferreting out the truth about each other.... the pair act out the play within the play, and unearth secret desires as they engage in erotically charged power games. Role-playing takes on a whole new meaning.... Ives and director Walter Bobbie take off at breakneck speed, and the stars trade zingers with ease.Review by Elisabeth Vincentelli from New York Post
Playing Vanda, a seemingly ditzy and desperate actress auditioning for a job, [Nina Arianda is] so funny, smart and sexy that watching her brings unexpected jolts like an electrical shock.... [Hugh] Dancy has great charisma and expertly captures Thomas' ever-shifting views of Vanda. In effect, he levels the playing field, and that’s essential. The play is a tug-of-war for power between a man and a woman. You need a fair fight.Review by Joe Dziemianowicz from New York Daily News
What Is Venus in Fur Like?
Set in a stark rehearsal studio, this fast-moving 90-minute play is both an intellectual adventure and an often funny encounter between an actress and a playwright. The talented cast of two make quick shifts between their 21st-century selves and the 19th-century Venus in Fur characters, donning costume pieces and taking on Continental accents as they lose themselves in the play. The action is chaste, but the language explores themes of domination and the nature of attraction.
Is A Venus in Fur Good for Kids?
Nope—it’s a thought-provoking, witty evening for adults only.