Friday, December 15, 2017

Venus in Fur brings a bit of masochism to the Belfry

November 26, 2014 by Josh Traill, contributing writer

Venus in Fur, currently playing at the Belfry Theatre, is an intimate play about the provocative power relationship between an auditioning actress and a director; in other words, this isn’t a play you would want to bring children to.

Based on the book by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the play deals with themes of masochism, power, and seduction. The plot revolves around an actress, Vanda Jordan, who shows up late to an audition and tries to convince the director to give her a chance through seduction.

Celine Stubel, who portrays Jordan, says her character “craves that intimacy” and because of the sensual and masochistic nature of the play, she says it’s important to have a strong “comfort level and trust.”

Plenty of hot-topic themes are explored within Venus in Fur (photo provided).

“For me it’s a real gift to play a part like this,” says Stubel. “It’s good to get an opportunity to go outside of your comfort zone.”

Venus in Fur is a show that is comprised of only two main character roles, the actress and the director, accentuating the themes of power conflict.

“It addresses the power and balance that are ingrained into our society from the beginning of time,” says Stubel. “My character ends up taking control of the play through magic elements like lighting and bits of costumes.”

Of course, this isn’t a play that only deals with themes of power and sex; it also contains elements of comedy and lightheartedness.

“It’s really entertaining and smartly written; it’s really, really funny,” says Stubel. “It’s a great mix, presented in an accessible way.”

The actors crack jokes throughout the show; at one point they make fun of the Lou Reed song “Venus in Furs.” And you don’t have to be a kinky masochist or a power-hungry sex deviant to enjoy this play; it’s done in a certain way that every audience member can both enjoy and be curious towards.

One reason the play has found ever-growing support is through its sophistication, dealing mainly with the characters’ personality clashes. The dialogue is fast and witty, so the audience will need to pay attention to keep up.

“I think it’s exciting that the Belfry is doing this play; I don’t think they’ve ever done a play like this before,” says Strubel. “It’s always a gift when you add in the audience; they’re the final piece of the puzzle.”

Venus in Fur
Until December 14
$33 and up, The Belfry Theatre
belfry.bc.ca

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