The enthralling English masterpiece

LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES

by Christopher Hampton
14 Okt - 20 Dec 2002
 
 
14 Okt – 20 Dec 2002
Performances daily at 7.30pm, ex. Sundays
 
 

Synopsis


The action takes place in various salons and bedrooms in a number of hotels and chateaux in and around Paris, and in the Bois de Vincennes, one autumn and winter in the 1780s.

A story of two unscrupulous manipulators, a vicious marchioness and a rakish viscount, who devote themselves to seductive, vindictive game-playing. However, they lack the courage to admit that they love each other, and so spend their energies destroying the lives of others with casual mercilessness. They are so cynically hardened to the ordinary feelings of life that only one emotion can destroy them: love itself.

Humiliated to be jilted by her lover (the Comte de Gercourt), the Marquise de Merteuil conjures up a diabolical plan to get even by ruining his life, honour and reputation, and so relieve her wounded pride. She negotiates with the Vicomte de Valmont to seduce Cecile Volanges, the promised young girl of the Comte, so that she is no longer virginal on the day of the marriage.

Valmont is a malevolent trickster, seemingly beyond redemption. He transforms Cecile from an innocent into an erotic coquette for the sport of it. He systematically seduces the Presidente de Tourvel, a virtuous wife who ends up falling in love with him – and he, apparently, with her. All along he entertains Emilie, a courtesan. Darceny, a young, tentative hopeful for Cecile’s hand, is manipulated by both Valmont and the Marquise, who also throws in seduction for good measure.

After Valmont rejects the trusting Madame de Tourvel, he realizes the Marquise has triumphed over him in a war of willpower. He challenges her to give up Darceny. The latter kills the viscount, who ‘seems to have lost heart’, in a duel. Madame de Tourvel loses the will to live, and dies.

The Marquise intends to ‘continue with the game’ while the unmistakable silhouette of the guillotine appears on the back wall of the stage.
 

Cast & Creative Team


Geraldine Fitzgerald
Melinda May
Josie Taylor
Kevin Brock
Andrew Hall
Howard Nightingall
Muriel Pavlow
Christabel Fellowes
Ann Wenn
Marc Elliott

Tim Hardy
Terry Parsons
Nick Richings
Jonathan Hartman
 
 

SETTING

The action takes place in various salons and bedrooms in a number of hôtels and châteaux in and around Paris, and in the Bois de Vincennes, one autumn and winter in the 1780s.

First presented at The Pit, London on 8 January 1986 by the Royal Shakespeare Company
 
There will be an interval of twenty minutes

No photographs or recording allowed in the theatre without prior permission from the management.