The 20th season of Grenfell College’s theatre program will open with a production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, running Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at the Fine Arts Theatre.
Based on the once officially banned 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses has recently been acclaimed on stage and screen. In 1985 Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of the book brought Laclos’ characters to life in the The Royal Shakespeare Company’s stunning production, featuring Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan, and met with acclaim in Stratford, London and on Broadway. The play’s themes of sex and seduction and its lavish historical setting was too much for Hollywood to resist, and the movie adaptation, Dangerous Liaisons, staring Glenn Close and John Malkovitch was recognized for best Art Direction, best Costume Design, and Best Screenplay at the 1989 Academy Awards.
The story enthralls with its dark undertones. The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two former lovers and rivals, use sex as a weapon to humiliate and degrade others, all the while enjoying their cruel games. When a meaningful relationship begins to develop between Valmont and his current object of seduction the game becomes complicated and, eventually, a battle to the death. Hampton’s characters are rich, spoiled and lethal, reflecting the decadence of the French aristocracy shortly before the French Revolution. At the same time we find ourselves attracted to Valmont and Merteuil. They are sophisticated, charming, intelligent, witty, and able to ruin a life with “the flick of a well-turned phrase.”
Les Liaisons Dangereuses features students from all four years of the theatre program at Grenfell. Jerry Etienne, a former artistic director of Theatre Newfoundland Labrador and the Atlantic Theatre Festival, directs. Carol Nelson, program chair, has designed remarkable costumes and set. Renate Pohl, a graduate of Grenfell College, returns to Corner Brook from her work and studies in England to design lights, and Dale Power designs sound.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the college bookstore or at the box office on the evening of each performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.