If the last production you saw at the Majestic was their lovely Sound of Music, perhaps you were hankering for something a bit more… adult. Well you’re in luck, because their next play is a stage reading of Valley of the Dolls.
They are doing something you may want to leave the kiddies at home for, though, David Ives’ 2010 play Venus in Fur. It’s a two person show starring Michael Winder and Harriet Owen-Nixon, and directed by Pat Kight that will be performed at the Majestic on subsequent weekends in January, starting on the 10th.
Venus is about a director (played by Winder) attempting to cast a stage adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novella, Venus in Furs. When he is finding no luck, and at wits end, an actress enters (Owen-Nixon) who turns the tables on him, in much the same way as the Venus in the book.
The novella deals with a man who voluntarily becomes a woman’s slave, being constantly humiliated and degraded. The author actually did this with his wife in real life, so… yikes.
The book was one of many by the author that dealt with sexual domination as a theme, and the term “masochism” was coined from his name. The Tony award winning play about the book has already been on Broadway and in movie theaters, thanks to a 2012 adaptation by noted masochist Roman Polanski.
Director Pat Kight is a University employee in the Oregon Sea Grant’s communications team. She previously directed In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) this past April at the Majestic. That play also featured both of the stars of this one. Michael Winder is a local actor who has appeared in several productions at the Majestic. He also teaches writing at Linn Benton Community College. Harriet Owen-Nixon works at HP and also appeared at the Majestic previously in several shows.
David Ives is a playwright and humorist who has worked steadily for over 40 years writing for the stage. He has several original works and adaptations, and most recently has been working on a musical with the great Stephen Sondheim.
The show at the Majestic is sure to be a complex and enjoyable experience, and probably the kind of play you’d like to see while sitting next to your parents, as all sexually themed work is.
Venus in Fur will be premiering at the Majestic on January 10th, at 7:30 PM, with 7:30 PM shows on the 11th, 17th and 18th as well. There are also 2:30 PM matinees on January 12th and 19th. Tickets are available at www.majestic.org or over the phone at (541)738-7469.
by Ygal Kaufman