Sex, Swords, and Laura Linney

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When I heard that Laura Linney was starring in Les Liasons Dangereuses and the reviews were good, I decided to check it out. I’ve been enjoying Linney’s performance as Abigail Adams so much that I jumped at the chance see her live, particularly in a play I’ve always enjoyed.

The set consisted of curtains and a few posh pieces of furniture that changed position to indicate the different locations. But the coolest part of the set was the glass backdrop of many panes, which added an interesting and eerie mirror effect to many of the scenes. Often one character from a previous scene would remain behind the glass during the next, as a ghost-like echo.

The play, set in aristocratic France’s height (the 1780’s), reflects the cruel manipulations and seductions of two grossly wealthy individuals. A stark contrast to her kind and calm Mrs. Adams, Linney plays a powerfully calculating and complex La Marquise de Merteuil. Her co-star Ben Daniels portrays a very playful Le Vicomte de Valmont, far less creepy than John Malkovich’s portrayal in the 1988 movie. Interestingly, another cast member of John Adams, Mamie Gummer, played the role of Cecile.

During the set changes, performed in character, sounds of laughter and suggestive breathing combined to create a provocative and slightly spooky atmosphere. The set, the acting, and these effects all added up to a sexy and intense production.

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