|Playbill from Venus in Fur, |
Goodman Theatre, Chicago, March 2014
In this two-character black comedy, which runs for an intermission-less ninety minutes, a theater director is having trouble finding the right actress to play the lead in his stage version of Venus in Furs (note the plural), the 1870 novella of female sexual domination and male submission by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (and the origin of the word masochist). When a disheveled and seemingly lame-brained actress shows up late for her audition, she and the director's interaction strangely begins to blend with the themes of Sacher-Masoch's racy novella.
David Ives is a veteran playwright whose work has been produced professionally since the 1970s. His collection of one-act comedies, All in the Timing, was the most produced play of the 1995-1996 season.
A film version of Venus in Fur, directed by Roman Polanski, with a screenplay by Ives and Polanski, was released in June 2014.
According to Theater Communications Group, an organization of American regional theaters, Venus in Fur was produced by twenty-two of its member theaters, during the 2013-2014 season.
|Reese Madigan and Greta Wohlrabe in Venus|
in Fur, Milwaukee Rep, September 2013
In her review of San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater's production of Venus in Fur, Karen D'Souza of the San Jose Mercury News calls the play "a metatheatrical game of cat and mouse laced with titillation and plot twists" but adds that the "primary flaw in this play within a play is how easily you see into the heart of the matter. Loud echoes of everything from Genet's The Balcony to 50 Shades of Grey ensure that you see where this is going from the first kiss to the last slap."