By PAM HARBAUGH
Okay…right out front…disclaimer: This post is filled to the brim with conflict of interest. But now that I got that out of the way, I hope you see “Venus in Fur” which opens Friday, Feb. 12 in the Upstairs at the Henegar theater. This is a most intimate space, carved out of an old ballroom and turned into a traverse style theater, which is pretty close to actual theater in the round.
And what happens on and off that unassuming stage with “Venus in Fur” is really something. I am most privileged to be directing it and honored to be working with two extraordinary actors — Shanise Jordan and Zack Roundy — and hell-bent-for-artistry designers and crew.
A little bit about the play. Written by mind-bending playwright David Ives, the drama has it all — dark humor, angst, sex, anger, mystery. It is set in a seedy New York City office building on, yes, a dark and stormy night. In it, fictional playwright Thomas Novachek has spent the entire day auditioning a “panoply of actresses…one with steel teeth” for his play “Venus in Fur” which he based on the actual 1870 novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. He’s about to head home to his fiancee when actress Vanda Jordan arrives late to her audition. She is a force of nature, he is a force of nature, and when the two collide…well…as the song says “ya got….sssss…steam heat!”
And yes…there’s quite a bit more than that. There’s shifting of identities, slippery slopes of introspection…and, that mystery.
The show runs about 1 hour 35 minutes (give or take a few) and does NOT have an intermission. You will not want to miss a moment, so be advised. You also need to be advised that it is filled with adult language and content…with possible fleshy reveals.
I also have to give huge shout-outs to stage manager, Shara Kyles…production manager/scenic designer Brighid Reppert (who hates the limelight but she’ll just have to deal with it), lighting designer Josh Huss, sound designer Thom Restivo, costume designers Andrew Cline and Vanessa Glenn and light board operator Chris Peterson. And of course the Henegar’s artistic director, Hank Rion, who has made all this possible.
SIDE O’ GRITS: “Venus in Fur” runs Feb. 12 to 28 in the second floor studio theater at the Henegar Center, 625 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $16 to $26. ADULT CONTENT. No one under 17 admitted…and those 17 year-olds need to come with a parent and/or guardian. Call 321-723-8698 or visit Henegar.org or click onto the ad on the right side of this page.