Venus in Fur | Goodman Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 13 2014
Price: $25-$86
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch might agree. Or then again, maybe not—he was an intellectually cagey guy. In 1870 he published Venus in Furs, a novel of obsession—apparently based on some of his own—about a Mittel-European nobleman named Severin who makes a pact with his mistress, Wanda, to serve as her slave, submitting to all the whippings, humiliations, and plain nastiness she can dish out. In short, indulging his masochistic streak. At the end Sacher-Masoch disavows that indulgence: the final paragraphs pronounce Severin "cured," as if the whole experience were a form of aversion therapy, and even give him a chirpily progressive, incredibly condescending little speech in the Apollonian-feminist vein, explaining that "woman, as nature has created her and as man is at present educating her, is his enemy. She can only be his slave or his despot, but never his companion. This she can become only when she has the same rights as he, and is his equal in education and work." Still, there's no getting around the previous hundred or so pages of ecstasy and despair. Of erotic lashings (the final one administered by Wanda's Greek lover). Of Severin fervently worshipping his cruel goddess. Continue reading >>


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