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USD Theatre's "Venus in Fur" Opens Thursday

Image Venus in Fur Vanda Johnson (Christa Gesicki) and Thomas Novachek (Kristian Asfeldt) in "Venus in Fur"

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents David Ives’ Tony Award winning play Venus in Fur; a twisted tale of an audition-gone-wrong, Oct. 22-26 in the Arena Theatre located in the Fine Arts building on campus.

Venus made its Broadway debut in 2011 where it was hailed by critics and soon became a motion picture directed by Roman Polanski. The story itself is an intense character study of chauvinism, masochism, sexism and power in which the audience will be taken on a journey because how the story ends is far away from where it began.

As the play begins we meet Thomas Novachek (Kristian Asfeldt), a struggling playwright and director who is working tirelessly to get his adaptation of Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Fur produced and off the ground. He has been holding auditions all day but has had no luck filling the lead role of Vanda. Enter Vanda Jordan (Christa Gesicki), a young actress who shares the same name as the lead character and is determined to have an audition of her lifetime. Vanda and Thomas’ story turns into an intense game of cat and mouse as they explore the script, but neither Thomas nor Vanda is really sure who is in control. As Vanda’s audition goes on longer and longer, the line of reality and fantasy is blurred while Thomas’ will is tested as his feelings toward Vanda grow and his engagement to his fiancée becomes uncertain.

David Ives is one of the most popular playwrights working today and Venus in Fur is one of his few ventures into full-length shows. This laugh-out-loud, thrilling and challenging tale will keep the audience engaged and wanting more.

Venus in Fur, which contains adult themes and content, performs Oct. 22, 23, 24 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Arena Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets -- $15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizens (62+), $10 K-12 and non-USD students, and $5 USD Students with ID -- can be purchased at the USD Theatre Box Office, calling the box office at 605-677-5400 or online.


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News