Venus in Fur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Written byDavid Ives
CharactersVanda Jordan
Thomas Novachek
Date premieredJanuary 13, 2010 (2010-01-13)
Place premieredClassic Stage Company
New York City
Original languageEnglish

Venus in Fur is a two-person play by David Ives set in modern New York City. The play had its premiere off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company in 2010 and on Broadway in 2011.


Venus in Fur opened off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company on January 13, 2010. The play was originally set to close on February 21, 2010, and was extended to March 7, 2010. The cast featured Nina Arianda and Wes Bentley with direction by Walter Bobbie.[1] The play relaunched the career of Wes Bentley.[2][3][4][5]

Venus in Fur then opened on Broadway on November 8, 2011. It was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Previews began on October 13, 2011. Nina Arianda reprised her role as Vanda and Hugh Dancy played Thomas Novachek, the writer-director. Walter Bobbie directed. The production ended its limited engagement at the Friedman on December 18 and resumed performances at the Lyceum Theatre on February 7, 2012, in a limited engagement through June 17, 2012.[6][7][8] Arianda won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway production, which also received a nomination for Best Play.

In 2013, the play saw its Australian premiere in a production by the Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane with Libby Munro as Vanda and Todd MacDonald as Thomas.[9] Dana Brooke as Vanda was declared one of the "Performances of the Year" by The Sacramento Bee in B Street Theatre's production in 2013.[10]

The play received its Canadian Premiere in Toronto in a 2013 production by the Canadian Stage Company. The show was so successful that it returned for an additional run later in the 2013–2014 season, and returned once more in the company's 2014–2015 season. Carly Street won a Dora Award for her portrayal of Vanda. Rick Miller co-stars as Thomas. The production was directed by Jennifer Tarver.

In 2017, the play had its London West End Premiere at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. This production was directed by Patrick Marber and starred Natalie Dormer and David Oakes as Vanda and Thomas respectively.[11]


Thomas Novachek is the writer-director of a new play opening in New York City; this play-within-the-play is an adaptation of the 1870 novel Venus in Furs by the Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and happens to be the novel that inspired the term "masochism". The play begins with Novachek on the telephone lamenting the inadequacies of the actresses who have showed up that day to audition for the lead character, Vanda von Dunayev.[12][13] Suddenly, at the last minute, a new actress called Vanda (Wanda) Jordan bursts in. At first it's hard to imagine that she will please this very particular and exasperated writer/director: She's brash, vulgar and unschooled. But she convinces him to let her audition for the part of Vanda von Dunayev, with the director/writer reading the part of Severin von Kushemski.[12][14] Much happens during this dynamic reading, as lightning flashes and thunder crashes outside. Vanda shows astonishing insights into the novel and her character, and she performs what is in effect a terrific audition. They both become caught up in the characters they are reading. The balance of power is reversed, and the actress establishes dominance over the director, which is similar to what occurs in the novel.[15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Nina Arianda won a Tony Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, Clive Barnes Award, and the Theatre World Award. She also received nominations for the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play,[16] the 2010 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Lead Actress,[17] and the Drama League Award, Distinguished Performance. She won the 2011/12 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play.[18]

Other nominations were the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Costume Design (Anita Yavich),[17] the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Play, and the Tony Award for Best Play.[18]

For the West End production, Natalie Dormer was nominated for Audience Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Film version[edit]

Director Roman Polanski shot a film version of the play, in French,[19] in late 2012. The film stars Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric.[20]


  1. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "David Ives' Venus in Fur, With Bentley and Arianda, Begins World Premiere in NYC" Archived October 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, January 13, 2010
  2. ^ Healy, Patrick. "Back From the Depths, Rebuilding a Career" The New York Times, February 7, 2010
  3. ^ Healy, Patrick. "Run Extended for Venus in Fur", The New York Times, February 3, 2010
  4. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "One Object of Desire, Delivered" The New York Times, January 28, 2010
  5. ^ Haun, Harry. "Nina Arianda: A Star Is Born" Archived February 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, January 31, 2010
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Venus in Fur, in a Commercial Mood, Resumes on Broadway Feb. 7" Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, February 7, 2012
  7. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "Nina Arianda to Dominate New Broadway Production of Venus in Fur", The New York Times, June 28, 2011
  8. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review. Venus in Fur", The New York Times, November 8, 2011
  9. ^ "Venus in Fur a dominant piece of theatre" by Natalie Bochenski, Brisbane Times, 28 June 2013
  10. ^ "Theater: The year in review in Sacramento" Archived December 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine by Marcus Crowder, The Sacramento Bee, 27 December 2013
  11. ^ "Natalie Dormer will star in erotically charged West End production of Venus in Fur" Archived August 23, 2017, at the Wayback Machine by Alistair Foster, The Evening Standard, 12 May 2017
  12. ^ a b Broadway review by Marilyn Stasio, Variety, 9 February 2012
  13. ^ The character is named "Wanda von Dunajew" in the novel.
  14. ^ The character is named "Severin von Kusiemski" in the novel.
  15. ^ Ives, David. Venus in Fur. Northwestern University Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0-8101-2822-4
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Outer Critics Circle Awards Noms Announced; 'Memphis', 'Royal Family' Top List" Archived November 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, April 26, 2010
  17. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth. "Everyday Rapture, Glass Menagerie, The Pride Are Among Lortel Award Nominees" Archived May 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, April 1, 2010
  18. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. 2012 "Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations" Archived May 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, May 1, 2012
  19. ^ "Roman Polanski To Helm Screen Version Of Venus in Fur" by Mike Fleming Jr, Deadline, September 20, 2012
  20. ^ "Mathieu Amalric Replaces Louis Garrel In Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur" by Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist, January 17, 2013

External links[edit]