From the novel that was so scandalous that it was even banned in France for a time-banned in France for being too sexy!-comes Christopher Hampton's wonderfully wicked and funny play Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Innocents lose their virtue and reputations as Vicomte Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil each try to outdo the other in a cruel game of seduction and revenge. Is it simply human nature or truly evil behavior? Each audience member must decide.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, directed by Brooke Ciardelli, with dialogue entirely in English, runs live on stage at Northern Stage at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT, from January 18 through February 5, and northern New England has never seen anything quite like it. For tickets and information, call 802-296-7000 or visit www.northernstage.org.
Two favorite Northern Stage actors return to do battle in 18th century France. John Patrick Hayden (Valmont) triumphed here as Hamlet and dazzled audiences in the fast-moving comedy The 39 Steps; Kathryn Merry, Hayden's co-star in The 39 Steps, most recently exploded on the stage as the take-charge German stewardess Gretchen in Boeing-Boeing. Together again, they are a mesmerizing pair. They're joined by Northern Stage veterans Louisa Flaningam (Driving Miss Daisy), Sutton Crawford (Romeo and Juliet, The Rainmaker, Amadeus), Kimberly Ann Sullivan (The Crucible), Alexis Hyatt (Amadeus) and Shu-Nan Chu and Michael Guess from Romeo and Juliet. Broadway actress Dee Pelletier is the newcomer to the area.
Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:00 p.m., except for the Opening Night performance on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m., with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Thursday, Jan. 26. The show is sponsored by the River Valley Club and Summit Wealth Group.
Vicomte Valmont and the young widow Marquise de Merteuil, once and possibly future lovers, each has a sinister mission. De Merteuil seeks revenge on her former lover Gercourt, and Valmont seeks to seduce the virtuous-and married-Madame de Tourvel, simply to enhance his wicked reputation. (As he says, "To seduce a woman famous for strict morals, religious fervour and the happiness of her marriage: what could possibly be more prestigious?") So de Merteuil sets herself up as a confidante to young Cécile, Gercourt's intended wife who is fresh from a convent, and insists that Valmont seduce her. Behind the courtly public manners and witty repartee, the twin plots unfold-with a few unexpected twists.