David Ives has written a remarkable play and Curious Theatre director Chip Walton has cast it perfectly. Production values, set, lighting, sound and costumes are well-designed.
We are in an old warehouse/studio with high windows and concrete all …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
We are in an old warehouse/studio with high windows and concrete all around. Banks of fluorescent lights lend a harsh glare as night comes on and rain beats on the windows. (One could make a joke about “a dark and stormy night” …)
Playwright/director Thomas (Brett Aune) is on the phone, complaining that none of the 35 women he has auditioned for the Vanda part in his play can “even play feminine — our Vanda's got to be out there somewhere.”
His play is about sadomasochism and the power play between male and female, based on an 1870 book, “Venus in Furs” by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.
He's about to head home when in rushes a dramatic-looking woman, carrying a blown- inside-out umbrella and pulling a suitcase. It's Vanda Jordan (Karen Slack) and she is determined to audition, whether it's too late or not. The train had problems, she says — and she will read for him. She takes off her coat and is wearing a leather vest and skirt, with leather dog collar.
The play is set in 1870, he protests, and she switches to bra, panties and a sheer white Victorian-looking dress. Is this Venus? Who is she?
She commences the lines, fetching him a frock coat from her bag. And thus begins an extraordinary cat-and-mouse game that runs non-stop for 90 minutes.
She has read the book and knows the script well.
Mutual sexual attraction interplays with changes in which actor dominates at a given moment — but mostly it's Vanda.
They go on and off book, but in either case, it's about control and outsized emotions. There are humorous breaks in the suspense. Ives is a masterful writer.
“Marry me, dominate me … this is the future of men and women,” Thomas says near the end as lightning and thunder continue outside.
Bottom line? “Don't (mess) with a goddess!!”
This is a wonderfully conceived and produced play. Concept and language are for a mature audience, but are so smoothly tied in that they shouldn't offend. Both Slack and Aune offer top-of-the-game performances.If you go:
“Venus in Fur” plays through June 14 at Curious Theatre, 1080 Acoma St., in Denver's Golden Triangle. Performances: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $20-$40, 303-623-0524, curioustheatre.org.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.