Goodman Theatreâ€™s March 8 â€“ April 13 run includes special events: $10 College night (March 12), Fantasy Night (March 20), Womenâ€™s Night (March 27), and unique Workshop with Early to Bed (March 31)
CHICAGO, IL â€“ â€œIn love as in politics, one partner must rule. One of them must be the hammer, the other the anvil.â€ Venus in Fur, Chicago native playwright David Ivesâ€™ â€œsmart, sexy, sinister comedyâ€ (Vogue), is now in rehearsals for its March 8 premiere at Goodman Theatre, helmed by Joanie Schultz who â€œhas emerged as one of the cityâ€™s strongest, most stylistically adaptable directorsâ€ (Chicago Sun-Times). As previously announced, Rufus Collins (Broadwayâ€™s To Be or Not To Be and The Royal Family) portrays playwright/director Thomas and Amanda Drinkall (Strawdog Theatre Companyâ€™s Great Expectations and Measure for Measure at the Goodman) portrays Vanda, the actor auditioning for him.Â Venus in Fur runs March 8 â€“ April 13 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Tuesday, March 18). Tickets ($25-$86; subject to change) are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Venus, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor and United Scrap Metal, Inc. is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for Venus in Fur.
A performance calendar and details about the special events in conjunction with the production follows.
â€œLaced with David Ivesâ€™ characteristically sharp humor and satiric insights, Venus in Fur is a true original: hilarious, challenging, at times unnerving and completely unpredictable,â€ said Artistic Director Robert Falls. â€œI am delighted to welcome back director Joanie Schultz, who began her relationship with the Goodman as our Michael Maggio Directing Fellow several seasons ago.Â Since then sheâ€™s become one of the most highly sought after young directors in town, and I know that she will bring her distinctive gifts to this smart and funny play. And while youâ€™re laughing, you may find yourself reassessing your own views of the eternal tensions that define romantic relations between men and women.â€
Based on the 1869 novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masochâ€”for whom â€œMasochismâ€ was namedâ€”Venus in Furâ€™s critically acclaimed Broadway run was hailed as a â€œsuspense-packedâ€ (New York Times), â€œelectricâ€ (Entertainment Weekly), â€œwildly intelligent and sometimes frighteningâ€ (New Yorker), â€œmadly funnyâ€ (Wall Street Journal) and a â€œtime-tripping game of cat and mouseâ€ (Bloomberg). When Vanda (Drinkall) arrives hours late to an audition for a play based on a nineteenth century erotic novel, the director, Thomas (Collins), is less than impressed. But Vandaâ€™s surprisingly masterful performance of the script flips Thomasâ€™ expectations and initiates a tango for dominance between them. As the audition unfolds, both actress and director morph into Sacher-Masochâ€™s alternately tortured and bemused lovers, switching roles on a dime and exploring shifts in power and the blurring of identities.
â€œThe novella crackles with the friction of two buttoned-up people in an erotic power play; that sure sounded dramatic to me,â€ said playwright David Ives, who has authored the one-act comedies All in the Timing and Time Flies, as well as adaptations of older plays including The School For Lies (a reworking of MoliÃ¨reâ€™s The Misanthrope) and Georges Feydeauâ€™s A Flea in Her Ear. “Chicago is my beloved home town, and I’m thrilled that Venus in Fur will be playing at the Goodmanâ€”where I went to the theater for the first time. I hope the Goodman’s audiences have as much fun watching the play as I had writing it.”
Director Joanie Schultz creates a new production for the Chicago premiere of Ivesâ€™ play. â€œWe want to let the audience in on how much the imagination of theater really transforms everything in the roomâ€”not just the actors, but also the space, the sounds, and how real life and imaginary life start running together,â€ said Schultz. â€œThe rehearsal room is not the most glamorous placeâ€”coffee gets spilled, everybodyâ€™s eating their salad, thereâ€™s sweatâ€”and yet thereâ€™s this magical thing that happens there which makes it beautiful. We endow the objects that we use in the theater with power: a rehearsal room becomes a palace, a chair a throne, a paper cup becomes fine china. Weâ€™re using the design to help the audience see these things the way actors are seeing them.â€
Schultz and her Tony Award-winning set designer Todd Rosenthal (Luna Gale, A Christmas Carol) based the world of the play on many rehearsal rooms, including the two at the Goodman. Jenny Mannis (Teddy Ferrara, Animal Crackers) designs costumes, Keith Parham (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Sweet Bird of Youth) designs lighting and Mikhail Fiksel (Buzzer, New Stages festival) designs sound. Joseph Pindelski is the dramaturg and Alden Vasquez is the production stage manager.