Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Venus In Fur

Circa Theatre, you are really spoiling us with these Ferrero Rocher current productions! Hot on the heels of The Father, along comes Venus In Fur, a two-hander by David Ives. It’s been around since 2010 and has been performed around the world, as well as adapted to a film by Roman Polanski.

As summer is almost upon us, we felt it was high time we revisited Whitebait, on the waterfront. Whitebait is one of Wellington’s premier seafood restaurants, but suffers from an unfortunate location. Ostensibly high-end real estate on Clyde Quay Wharf, it features floor-to-ceiling windows which make it into a greenhouse on summer evenings, as it catches the sun all afternoon and evening. We were first in, as we had to get to the show, so were able to select a table in the shade (they originally wanted to put us in the window). The seafood was excellent as usual, and we had time for a dessert as well, which was also good. We then made the short walk across to Circa with plenty of time to spare.

Venus In Fur is a play within a play, a two-hander about a playwright adapting and directing the 19th century novel, Venus In Furs, by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch – the man who brought us the word Masochism. In fact, this is the book that inspired the term. The play revolves around an actress auditioning for the role, and gradually reversing the power dynamic between director and actress as the plot develops. Whilst at the beginning she makes mistakes and admits to only having glanced through the text”, by the middle of the play it’s clear that not only is she very familiar with both the original work and the playwright’s reworking, she also has (gasp!) opinions about it. At the end you’re left asking whether that was even a real actress? Or was that the embodiment of Venus, returning to Earth?

Great fun, and if you get a chance to see it, do so.

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