A MYSTERIOUS, erotic and funny drama – featuring just two people – is Melville Theatre’s first offering for 2018.
Written by US playwright, screenwriter and novelist David Ives and directed by Trevor Dhu, Venus in Fur was first staged in 2010 and nominated for numerous Tony Awards before Roman Polanski shot a French film version in late 2012.
The play-within-a-play is an adaptation of the 1870 novel Venus in Furs by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the book that inspired the term masochism.
The play goes behind the scenes at an audition in New York City where a playwright and mysterious young actress blur the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power and love and sex.
Armed with a bag of S&M gear and period costumes, the actress convinces the playwright to read his own script with breaks along the way to argue about the meaning of the story.
“As the reading progresses, the characters take on the roles for real and one of them, through the portal of love, becomes the dominant gender – but with a premise of complete control, sexism and sadomasochism,” Dhu said.
“It’s frequently described as a play-within-a-play but one of the plays is actual reality.
“The main challenge is the gradual timing for sensuality and domination to take over and guiding the cast and my perspectives of the play’s themes and plot.
“I also need to assist the actors to build up such an out-of-real-life comedy-drama.”
Involved in the performing arts for as long as he can remember, Dhu has worked with Patch and Playhouse Theatres, Perth City Ballet and did extensive professional work with the Australian Dance Theatre in the eastern states.
He has directed, choreographed and acted in various productions at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre – most notably West Side Story and Jesus Christ Superstar – and also performed and directed at Harbour, Roleystone, Old Mill and Melville Theatres.
More recently, Dhu has directed Summer of the Seventeenth Doll at the Old Mill Theatre, winner of several Milly Awards, and the acclaimed Closer, as well as Barefoot in the Park and Spike Heels.
“My decision to direct Venus in Fur is that I prefer doing plays that have a quirk and are a creative venture that stretch local theatre boundaries – but, at the same time, give local talent the opportunity to try something different,” he said.
“More personally, I was dominated by my mother and emotionally dominated in a previous relationship so part of it is looking at that tricky search to find equality in a relationship.”
Venus in Fur plays at 8pm February 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, March 1, 2 and 3 with a 2pm matinee February 25. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au.
Please note: the play has adult themes and some coarse language.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
venus1: Grace Edwards as Vanda in Venus in Fur at Melville Theatre. Picture: Nicholas Tejchman
venus2: Venus in Fur looks at what is real and what is fantasy with Thomas Dimmick and Grace Edwards. Picture: Nicholas Tejchman
venus3: An amorous audition between playwright Thomas (Thomas Dimmick) and Vanda (Grace Edwards) in Venus in Fur blurs the line fantasy and reality. Picture: Nicholas Tejchman
venus-grace: Venus in Fur features Grace Edwards as Vanda. Picture: Nicholas Tejchman
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
P: 0409 373 374