Based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novella Venus in Furs – Sacher-Masoch’s being the namesake for the term ‘masochism’, which gives you a rough idea of what you’re in for – this play was adapted by contemporary American playwright David Ives into a Tony-nominated Broadway hit. It centres on the tense, erotic relationship between Thomas, a playwright-director, and Vanda, a girl who switches between ditzy and seductive at the drop of a hat – which happens to reflect the storyline of the show that Thomas is hoping to put on. ‘What really excites me about the play is that it addresses the imbalance of power between male/female relationships that has existed since the beginning of time,’ says US-based director Ed Iskandar, who was invited by the Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) to stage the play. ‘I knew it wasn't the kind of play that Singaporeans could see every day, and I knew that the two dynamite roles would be bait for two great performers, so when [SRT artistic director] Gaurav Kripalani offered me the play, I said yes without hesitation.’
Audiences here should expect a slightly different version from the Broadway one, however, as Iskandar’s set design is more similar to that of an opera, as opposed to the naturalistic one used in New York. He also has an alternative take on the character of Thomas – who will be played by a top-billed New York actor (details on this are still hush-hush). ‘The previous performances in this role portrayed the character as a little bit of a pushover,’ explains the director. ‘When I consider the facts in the script – that Thomas is a first time playwright-director who's apparently been entrusted with a pretty large New York premiere production of a play based on an obscure period novel – I imagine that he comes from wealth and privilege. That seems to heighten the stakes in all the right directions, and suggests someone more arrogant, opinionated, dominant: in short, the kind of misogynist who would write a play that celebrates the degradation of women and whose ignorance and obstinacy may well instigate divine intervention for a lesson he'll never forget.’ He adds with a wink, ‘I'm going to give my Vanda a hell of a Thomas to conquer. It’ll be a provocative, sexy and very funny experience.’ Gwen Pew
For 16 years old and up only.