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November 20, 2009
Vol. 51 No. 10

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'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' features daring plotline

The Susquehanna Department of Theatre will present Christopher Hampton's play "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" in the Degenstein Theater on four consecutive evenings, beginning Thursday, Dec. 3 at eight.

According to the 2009-10 Susquehanna University Arts and Events Guide, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," or "The Dangerous Liaisons" is an adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos's 1782 novel of the same title.

The play is a drama about aristocrats in pre-revolutionary France who use sex to control, degrade and break others.

According to the publisher, Samuel French Inc, the play as "a classic drama for exploring decadent sexuality, morals and manipulation played as the ultimate game with tragic results."

Associate Professor Theatre and Artistic Director Doug Powers said, "As far as productions go here, it's probably the most adult that we've done. The characters in this play approach sex from a cold, almost war room perspective."

Junior cast member Rachel Gilbert said, "I'm really excited to be a part of this production. It's sexy and smart."

Junior cast member Emily Mattison said that she believes the production is "completely different from anything they have ever presented on the Susquehanna stage before."

Powers explained that "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" deals with themes such as sex, love and gender standards.

"It's almost mathematical, the way the way the characters scheme," he said.

Powers said that he believes that this play will present an interesting contrast after last month's family-themed production of "The Sound of Music." He said that he views this juxtaposition positively.

"It's good to show our range as a department," he said.

Andrew Rich, associate professor of theatre and scenic designer, said that the play's setting has been modified from the text's original time and place.

"We are putting everyone in modern dress and a modern environment without changing the written text," Rich said.

"We are trying to make the set like a Parisian fashion show," he said. "Everything will have a slick, modern appearance."

Junior Matt Mitra, lighting designer for the production, said that the lighting plot will conform to the design concept.

Mitra said that he plans to use a lot of exposed lights at various angles to brightly illuminate and isolate parts of the set.

According to Erik Viker, associate professor of theatre and technical director, the "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" set is being constructed at no cost.

"Without sacrificing quality at all, we have discovered that we can construct the scenery from stock material and items we have salvaged from the previous production," Viker said. "The play may be nasty, naughty and mean-spirited, but it's environmentally friendly."

Viker said that the money that is being saved from the lack of scenic expenses will become part of the costuming budget.

"Les Liaisons Dangereuses" will be performed Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in Degenstein Theater.

Tickets are available at the box office in the Degenstein Campus Center. Admission is free for Susquehanna students, $10 for adults and $8 for non-Susquehanna students.

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