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Mermaid Clown Upside Down

Riverside 2: Sunday Night: Venus in Fur - on Broadway.

Imagine that it is your first time ever in New York City. Ever. (Except that one time when you were nine and you drove through the Bronx.)

Imagine that you are brought to a safe haven, fed, tea-ed up, given time to change clothes and read the first few chapters of a novel while curled up on a couch beneath VELVET BLANKETS.

Then imagine being WHISKED off to a Parisian place of chandeliers (draped in cobwebs and black netting for Halloween) and candlelight, called Cafe Un Deux Trois, where the waiters ALL have real French accents, and there is wine, and at dinner you are introduced to an actress named Anne Bobby, who's been a working actress since she was a teenager, who is kind, who is articulate, who happens to SHARE YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Then imagine strolling through Time Square to Broadway, where you get to see... frikkin... VENUS IN FUR. Written by... frikkin... DAVID IVES. And starring Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy.

I never even really paid attention to Hugh Dancy until Mir and I watched Daniel Deronda recently at the Girl Detective's house. (That whole movie experience sticks with me on several levels. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. Definitely don't feel one SPECIFIC way about it, but I AM convinced that I need to read George Eliot). Realized after watching it that I'd seen him in other films -- Jane Austen Book Club (meh... Except I liked the part about LeGuin), Ella Enchanted, King Arthur (I barely remember either of the latter, as if I watched them half asleep). But Daniel Deronda so vexed and pleased me as a film that I remembered the lead's name. And lo! HERE HE IS ON BROADWAY.

The only thing I knew about Venus in Fur going in was what I'd picked up in a little trailer about it that Ellen had sent, and that Nin has read the book it was based on. Somehow -- maybe because she told me about it in the same conversation as Story of O> -- I associate those two books, and also I associate them with the BDSM scene and the 19th century. But I could be wrong! (I could google them right now and see if I am... But I won't. I am tired. Even though I AM an hour behind New York in my body.)

Okay, okay, but get this. David Ives' Venus in Fur is not an adaptation. It's about a playwright/director who has adapted Venus for the stage. He has been auditioning girls -- all, according to him, idiots -- and has just about given up. When all of a sudden, in bangs this... this... actress. She is at first everything he despises. And then she starts to read the part for him. As his reader has already gone home, the director -- Thomas -- has to read with her.

What follows is the most incredible, ah, INTRICATE power play, seamless in its transitions of status, building ever in darkness and sexiness and yet BUOYANT with humor. I was often at the edge of my seat, with my program twisted up like wet towel, biting my knuckles and wishing I could WRITHE. Oh, yes. Yes, it was pretty dang good.

Ellen and Delia had seen it twice before, but not since it moved to this bigger theater and took on Mr. Dancy. The first time, they say, you watch it to see what happens (which is why I can't say anything more here, because what happens is such a part of the delicious shock). The second time, to see how they hint what's to come. The third time, I dunno. Ellen says, "Well. It doesn't get boring the more I see it."

And THAT says something about a play, doesn't it? Not just the writing -- OH THE WRITING -- but the acting and the directing. The whole gilded umbrella of it. Sheesh. I'd see it again. I'd like to sit just at the edge of the stage, just out of the way of their feet. I wanna see 'em sweat. LIKE THEY MADE ME SWEAT!

Phew!

What a treat!

The whole night, a treat!

And then we went out to a bar called Joe Allen's. I had the apple crumble a la mode. And a bite of Ellen's chili.

And then the SUBWAY RIDE BACK was also great.

Hasn't been an un-great moment yet. I don't really anticipate one.

Gonna curl up with a paperback now.

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Comments

I remember not being very impressed with the book (probably for being a bit too 19th century psychological about a character for whom I had little to no sympathy) but this spin on it sounds like it could be pretty cool. Neat!
It was VERY cool! Beautifully written... especially since the female character kept undermining all the 19th century notions of a female character -- both in the play-within-the-play, and out of it.