Prague Shakespeare Company presents provocative play Venus in Fur

Sexy, provocative, exciting. That is a description of the play ‚Venus in Fur‘. We saw the play in Prague’s Kolowrat Theatre on 15th December, which was one of the last performances. ‚Venus in Fur‘ is an hour-and-a-half-long two-person drama with no intermission, partly inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel Venus in Furs. References to classical mythology appear in the play, Venus being the Roman goddess of love. (Her Greek counterpart Aphrodite is also mentioned.)

The basic story is that director Thomas Novachek is unsuccessfully trying to cast the main female lead in his adaptation of Sacher-Masoch’s book. He is about to head home after a long day of watching dozens of disastrous auditions, when suddenly somebody unexpected comes in late to read for the role. Her name is Vanda Jordan, similar to Wanda in the actual play. Seemingly naive and silly, Vanda soon turns out to be much more than that. They proceed to read Novachek’s script, Vanda as Wanda von Dunayev and Thomas as Severin von Kusiemski. As the play progresses, the true nature of both lead characters is discovered, step by step. Throughout the play, the connection between the characters and Sacher-Masoch’s novel becomes so apparent that at one point they merge into one. In the end, the audience ceases to see the difference between the two.

The two leads were played by Prague Shakespeare Company members Guy Roberts and Jessica Boone. Both played very complex characters, and their deliveries and performances were brilliant; unexpected in such a small theatre. At first, one may be surprised by the sadomasochistic nature of the play (that term was actually inspired by the previously mentioned Sacher-Masoch’s novel) but at its heart lies a very intriguing story. It is, in some ways, a provocative play (the female lead spends a large part of it dressed only in lace lingerie) but that doesn’t take away from the overall impressions the actors give us.

The play as a whole has a very complex, original and controversial storyline, which stops you in its tracks in shock several times. Despite that, Venus in Fur is fascinating, and one cannot simply look away from the stage, whether you like it or not, because it’s so captivating! Moreover, Guy Roberts’s and Jessica Boone’s brilliant performances are the best thing about the play. Thanks to them, their characters have an unusual spark and for me that is what adds extra class to the play!

Text vznikl v rámci předmětu Angličtina pro žurnalisty pod vedením Mgr. Aleny Proškové.

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