John Malkovich's French-Language Staging of Les Liaisons Dangereuses Makes DC Premiere Dec. 6

By Kenneth Jones
06 Dec 2012

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's presentation of Théâtre de l'Atelier's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, directed by stage and screen star John Malkovich and featuring a French cast, swaggers into STC's Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, DC, Dec. 6-9.



The play — part of the STC Presents Series, which brings international productions to theatregoers in DC — is presented with English surtitles and is "adapted to a 21st century setting." It was praised in Paris.

According to STC, "Malkovich has stocked his cast with vivacious new talent from acting schools across France to create a young and dynamic ensemble true to the original text. For a play steeped in deception, nothing is hidden from the audience's sight, and the actors remain on stage for the entire performance."

In the novel-turned-play "correspondences that ensnare and unravel the characters have been transposed to modern-day texting and messaging on cell phones and tablets." The costumes have been updated to a mix of period pieces and modern-day clothes.

In the Academy Award-winning 1998 film adaptation of the play, "Dangerous Liaisons," Malkovich played charming and calculating Vicomte de Valmont, opposite Glenn Close. The Choderlos de Laclos novel was adapted for the London and New York stage by Christopher Hampton, whose version is the basis for this production.

Laura Pels, director of the Théâtre de l'Atelier, was approached by STC's artistic director Michael Kahn about bringing the production stateside after he saw the production in Paris.

Kahn said in a statement, "This is a very new and fresh and revelatory look at the play. John Malkovich's direction of it was true and yet radical; this is his own wonderful collaborative interpretation with a fine French cast. I'm glad to have Mr. Malkovich and his cast on the stage of the Lansburgh."

The troupe includes Sophie Barjac as Madame de Rosemonde; Rosa Bursztejn as Cecile de Volange; Jina Djemba as Madame de Tourvel; Lazare Herson-Macarel as Azolan; Mabo Kouyate as Chevalier Danceny; Yannik Landrein as Vicomte de Valmont; Pauline Moulene as Madame de Volanges; Julie Moulier as Marquise de Merteuil; and Lola Naymark as Emilie.

To purchase tickets or to learn more about the 2012 Tony Award-honored company, visit ShakespeareTheatre.org.