Scandal will unfold on the stage in the mainstage production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (Dangerous Liaisons).
It’s 1781 in pre-revolution Paris, where the Marquise de Merteuil is plotting revenge. She wants to bring humiliation upon her ex-lover, so she conspires with her friend Vicomte de Valmont, who will seduce her ex-lover’s fiancée Cecile.
“It’s a bit shocking that he’s about to enter an agreement to go and sleep with this young lady with no desire for her at all, except for to ‘help’ his friend,” director Julian White says. “It’s a play of seduction, but seduction for all the worst possible reasons, not because you really like someone.”
White first read the play for a class in his undergraduate program, and he fell in love with the script. For this production, he says he has a dream cast.
“This play calls for people to be believable. It takes a special group of actors that has the ability to live honestly on stage, he says. “I have a really good group of actors that are involved with this production. I really believe in them and I believe they will be successful with this material.”
Both student actors and community members make up the cast. In addition to learning the material, the cast has continuously done background research on the French Revolution to have a better understanding of the context and culture of the time.
With a multitude of information available, sifting through it and finding the right information has been a challenge. White says that Liliane Fucaloro, chair of the Department of English & Foreign Languages, has been a huge help to him and the cast.
“Liliane told us that at that time, men and women were married for financial gain and pursued affairs for love. If you think about it, it makes total sense, because their marriages were arranged, usually by their parents,” he says. “The aristocracy had a kid in a candy store mentality—they could do whatever they wanted. They were the law.”
Dangerous Liaisons opens Thursday, May 20 at 8 p.m. and runs through May 29. Tickets can be purchased online. For more information on ticket sales, contact the Theatre box office at 909-869-3800.