Saturday, January 07, 2017

Dangerous Women

During at rip to New York I hit my favorite regular dinner party to meet up with some of my favorite regulars. At the party I talked to Mr. Spanker who is a whiz at finding good things to do in New York for free, for cheap and for all the occasions.

"Did you know, I just saw Dangerous Liaisons on Broadway?"

"Shut the fuck up, you did not!"

He sent me a link to the website for the production and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to go to New York and not go to that show. Of course, of all the shows, Dangerous Liaisons is one that I've seen in a number of various different ways. I've seen a Korean version, I've seen the modern takes on the story, I've red the book and of course, of course, I've seen the film something close to a billion times.

I knew that the film was based on an original play, but I had never seen the show live so this would be a chance to experience this favorite in a new way. This story is one I know so well that during the presidential debates I couldn't help but to think that Hillary herself may have learned a thing or to about debate prep from the La Marquise de Merteuil.

The theater was lovely and because it was mid-week it wasn't full. The managed to do a beautiful stage setting for the production, but the best part of the show was the women, The actresses that brought this show to life were absolutely perfect. That is the thing about Dangerous Liaisons it is a story about women each women a power in her own right, and each one manipulating the few unfortunate male players that enter our realm.

The Marquise was prefect, cold, calculating, but also passionate. She is full of a passion that drives her, keeps her safe from the world and helps her figure out to maintain her freedom in a society where a misstep would allow men to dominate otherwise. Madame de Tourvel has her own passions and while she eventually compromises she does so on her own terms. This is probably one of the most difficult things to understand about this particular story. Tourvel is not some weak manipulated woman but a strong woman who makes decisions with consequences she is willing to endure. She is bases her world not so much on control but on hope for the best in the world. It is her own way of mastering the world.

Even Cecil and her mother the Madame de Volanges are in their own way forces. Coming with money, a dowry, money that is power, to be envied in the world, they are more than just bit parts. While the Madame doesn't manage to really exercise her will heavily, her daughter comes into her own womanhood with her own understanding of the potential she has in the world to both control and manipulate her situation and surroundings.

This is a wonderful story about women, and the play took that aspect and ran with it. While Valmont manages to cut his way as best he can, compared to the ladies on stage he is no more than a drunk vaudevillian, playing comic relief to the machinations of the women who run him in circles.  this may have been unintended but it was a perfect execution of the play for me.

Of course, I also realized, that in all the versions I have ever seen, no actor I've seen try has managed to embody Valmont as much as Malcovich.  

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