A peak behind the fur
I hope you are getting ready for this weekend! We just went through a very rough and strange year, all of us. We all need a break from reality, and what best to do so but by going to the theatre.
You’ll be getting entertained, and your boundaries will be pushed by the mere themes of the play. Which are, incidentally, in line with Valentine’s day. I mean, I went to see 50 shades of Grey for Valentine’s 2015. I was single and I went alone. And even though the movie was never gonna win oscars, it did the job for me.
But Venus In Fur is even a better way to spend my Valentine’s day this year, in my humble opinion. And heres why:
I went to see a rehearsal, and I will be coming again, this time with my significant other. And I know, I will see it in yet another, different way. It never ceases to evolve, as my brain, mind, thoughts evolve too. I read the book, had an opinion. Read the play, furthered it. And now I have seen the preview, and yet another layer to the story and its theme has been revealed to me.
It is a very successful collaboration of creative people. Nathan Schulz, aka The Drama Merchant, as the director, has blocked and given a rhythm to the play that just works beautifully. He rallied his troops in his cast, Dominic Bradley as Thomas, and Jenna Eve as Vanda, Doc, the lights and sounds technician and owner of Motet Studio, as well as Nate’s helpful mentor, Barry Gibson. At the end of the preview, I was able to speak with the cast and crew. It confirmed what I could sense, everybody has put their heart and soul into this project.
They bounce off each other, offer suggestions, point out possible technical issues. They are all hands on and it is beautiful to see. As an actor, this is exactly what I love about theatre. The venue is absolutely perfect for the atmosphere of the play. To give the audience the extra sensation that we are indeed witnessing real events, Nate decided to not include an interval, so what is happening in front of us happens in real time which gives us this sense of urgency.
Having a break would jeopardize that reality. It may seem long for an almost 2 hour show - but time flies by as the audience stays on the edge of their seat until the very last line: “Hail Aphrodite!”.
The show is immersive and inclusive of the audience which makes us feel like intruders, voyeurs. It may make us feel awkward at times but we still cannot stop ourselves from watching. We need to know where this is going, we need to see it through.
As for the story and themes, I know I covered it mainly in my last blog, but as I mentioned before, the more I explore it, the more there is to say. It pushes the taboo of many social issues. I left feeling like I was Venus myself, like every woman was a Venus in disguise, empowered and confident.
There were some statements I didn’t particularly agree with (which I won’t disclose here, or there would be spoilers, and then it kinda ruins the show for you), but it did make me think and made me want to start a conversation. Which I was able to do with Dom and Doc after the preview, as well as with Nathan later.
The characters have so many layers, they are conflicted within themselves, and that, without even considering the fact that they are both reading as conflicted characters for a rehearsal (remember it is a show about an audition/rehearsal for a play adapted from a book).
We don’t know where the manipulation starts and ends, which is real and which is pretense. It is up to the audience to draw their own conclusion. It lifted a couple of preconceived ideas I myself may have had in the past, and opened up discussions I would probably never have had about BDSM and fetishism, but about many other topics too.
The book and then the play break the heavy solid doors of conventionalism, It shook the literary conventions of the time, pushes, even to this day, the stigmas and preconceived ideas around sex practices, feminism, even racism (a hint of it in the book, not really displayed in the play).
Towards the end of the play, Thomas and Vanda wonder what is the underlying message from the play they are reading. Thomas hesitantly suggests “Be careful what you wish for?”, to which Vanda strongly answers “Don’t fuck with a goddess”. We don’t know who is auditioning who and for what, for surely,it is not for the play anymore.
That is all I am willing to divulge to you, dear reader. It is now up to you to further your ideas, push your boundaries, open your mind. Come and see the show. If not for the mere sake entertainment, for enlightenment.
Click here to book your tickets, and do it quick, seats are selling fast, as the Friday show is sold out, leaving only 11:30am and 7:30pm on Saturday!