Monday, May 28, 2012

Inspiration for great theater

Venus in Furs by Ritter von Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

 "You are cold, while you yourself fan flames. By all means wrap yourself in your despotic furs, there is no one to whom they are more appropriate, cruel goddess of love and of beauty!"

After seeing the Broadway play, Venus in Fur by David Ives, I felt compelled to read his inspiration. The play is brilliant, telling the story of a young actress who shows up late and disheveled for a casting call for an adaptation of the 19th century erotic novel, Venus in Furs.

The novel has received some praise in its own right, but I didn't love it. I do love the fact that a gifted playwright can use mediocre 19th century Austrian erotica as the spark he needed to turn out a masterpiece. I'm glad I read the book but only to see that anything, if given to a playwright and actors with powerful talents, can be turned into a work of art on stage.

Why you should consider it:
  • read this book before you see the play; you will get more out of it
Why you might hold off:
  • the story, a short novella, is tedious at times
  • definitely not for kids
Local alert: New York City is a stone's throw for many of us. If you can, read this short novella and then see the more intriguing play on Broadway Venus in Fur by David Ives at the Lyceum Theater, 149 West 45th Street.

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