Venus im Pelz (Venus in Fur)

A stage play by Florian Dedio

“Nowhere does Goethe’s ‘You must be hammer or anvil’ fit so well as in describing the relationship between man and woman. A woman’s power derives from a man’s passion, and she will know how to use it.”
This is how Severin von Kusiemski, the protagonist of “Venus im Pelz”, describes the, as he puts it, “cruel catastrophe of his life”. He is talking about his relationship with Wanda von Dunajew, a beautiful and rich widow, which opens with him as her lover, and ends with him as her slave.
Severin von Kusiemsi is the alter ego of his creator, Austro-Hungarian author Leopold von Sacher Masoch (1836-1895). Sacher-Masoch is already a celebrity in his home country when his novella “Venus im Pelz” is first published in 1870.
This book brings him worldwide fame almost instantly. But fame turns to misfortune when Austrian psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebbing uses Sacher-Masoch’s name to coin the – in his mind – pathological term masochism.
Today, out of all of Sacher-Masoch’s works, only “Venus im Pelz” truly endures. The novella was banned time and time again for its supposedly sexual themes, and was among the books banned in Germany after 1954. 
“Venus in Fur” is a classic book of world literature – and one of my favorites as well. I am all the more grateful that Volkstheater Rostock gave me the chance to bring it back to live here.
After months of adapting the book and finding the perfect cast, rehearsals began in winter 2010 (and would not have been possible without the help of my wonderful assistant Janina Kepp).
I was glad to work with Philipp Wisotzki and Anne Roedszus, who composed the accompanying score, which underlined the emotional struggles that Severin and Wanda live through on stage.
Both live performances (which was all that could be fit into Volkstheater Rostock’s tight schedule) sold out rather quickly.
I wish we could have brought the play to a wider audience. As it was I knew that I had to revisit “Venus im Pelz” once more.
“Venus in Fur” premiered on September 11th, 2010, with an additional show on September 15th.
A play by  Florian Dedio
Based on the novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Starring Meike Faust und Dino Gebauer
Music written & performed by: Philipp Wisotzki & Anne Roedszus
Assistant Director: Janina Kepp
Directed By: Florian Dedio
Venus im Pelz, Uraufführung im Stadthafen. Rostock Heute, September 12th, 2010
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