After her Molière for “Le Montespan”, Salomé Villiers brings on stage a wonderful text by Marjorie Frantz.
So why give a sequel to the famous Dangerous Liaisons of Choderlos de Laclos? Tackling one of the fundamental texts of French literature must have been thought twice by Marjorie Frantz, better known as an actress and dubber (of Hilary Swank or Cameron Diaz) than as an author. The result is sensational.
Shoe on his foot
After her forfeiture following the death of Valmont, the Marquise de Merteuil went into exile. After fifteen years, she accepts a curious invitation which will put her face to face with Cécile de Volanges with the Vicomte de Valmont in the background, who continues to poison their lives after their death. The outrages of Valmont suffered by Cécile, the Machiavellianism of the marquise reappear in a torrent of moral reproaches on the one hand, and feminist demands on the other.
Updating 18th century language and plot to our times, while remaining a piece in costume, wins over. Salomé Villiers delves into her historical, sociological and societal theme, embarking on the staging of Merteuil. She found her shoe with Marjorie Frantz, who found hers with Choderlos. Unless it’s the other way around. The beautiful decor from the time of the Enlightenment, with its magnificent background curtain which falls at the end like a mask, works wonders.
The language as a foil
What a pleasure to hear such an open tongue in jousts as spicy as foils. The original text inspires more than one salvo from the mouths of Cécile and de la Merteuil. The author, Marjorie Frantz who interprets it, alternates sweetness and provocations, facing Chloé Berthier as an expiatory victim of the pangs of her elder. The feminist dimension of the marquise, present at Laclos, resonates all the more strongly today.
But the victimization of Cécile too. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. And Cécile de Volanges is one of them, sacrificed to the altar of the feminist cause as in the novel. Is the game worth the candle? It was already the question of Dangerous Liaisons. Marjorie Frantz and Salomé Villiers update it with sagacity, happiness and talent. A jewel.
By Marjorie Frantz, after “Dangerous Liaisons” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Directed by: Salome Villiers
With: Marjorie Frantz and Chloé Berthier
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