Choderlos de Laclos was a French army officer unable to satisfy his military ambitions. Hence, he began devoting to literature. He wrote a number of poems and librettos but is best known for the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782), composed entirely of letters by the various characters to one other. The veracity of its action makes it the greatest work of its ilk. Almost 200 letters depict the relationship between two rakes who deform the noble ideas of philosophical libertinism into moral perversion. For the sake of their amusement, the Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont interfere in other people’s lives and hatch schemes that ultimately bring about their downfall. Emotionless sensuality becomes an art of strategy, calculated to the finest detail, and this cynical approach to morality and human responsibility not only hurts the innocent victims but also turns against their tormentors themselves. On the surface, there is the seemingly faultless and immaculately mannered aristocratic elite, yet lifting the mask reveals the rotten core underneath. Cruelly bizarre is how easily one can fall into the life game whose rules are determined by others. No one is an island, we all are influenced by the milieu surrounding us. Sometimes it is difficult to recognise when we decide about our life ourselves and when others do so on our behalf… The story of cynical hedonists has been adapted by the Czech choreographer Libor Vaculík to Franz Schubert’s music arranged by Petr Malásek. The chamber production will oscillate between dance theatre and drama. Libor Vaculík does not aim to shock by a grand work, focusing instead on delicate, sensitive portrayal of the protagonists’ natures.
Premiere: 26 Nuny 2014
Approximate running time, including intermission:
2 hours 15 minutes, one 20-minute intermission
Photo: Martin Divíšek, Hana Smejkalová, Pavel Hejný