Cruelty Comes Alive in 'Dangerous Liaisons'

Popular Play Performed April 16 - 25 in Quintero Theatre

Sometimes, sex can be like a loaded gun. In the wrong hands, it can leave a trail of death and heartbreak.

That's certainly the case in Christopher Hampton's  "Dangerous Liaisons." Audiences soon will experience this popular play thanks to the talents at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance.

Directed by graduate student Samuel Sparks, "Dangerous Liaisons" will be performed in the Jose Quintero Theatre (in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Entrance 16 off of Cullen Boulevard). Show times are as follows:

  • 8 p.m., April 16 - 17 and 22 - 24
  • 2 p.m., April 18, 25

Tickets are $20, $15 for faculty and staff, and $10 for seniors and students. To reserve or purchase tickets, call the box office at 713-743-2929.

Based on Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos' 18th century novel, the stage version of "Dangerous Liaisons" follows two aristocrats Vicomte de Valmont (played by graduate student Christopher Egging) and the Marquise de Mertuil (graduate student Demetria Thomas) as they orchestrate a cruel plot. Among those caught in their seductive crossfire is the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (senior Tracie Thomason).

"It is a beautiful play with characters saying beautiful words while doing cruel things to each other," Sparks said. "At times, the play can be biting and sharp, but thrilling as well."

Hampton's play debuted in 1985. Its success led the playwright to adapt his script into a screenplay. In 1988, the film version of "Dangerous Liaisons" was a hit with moviegoers and critics alike.

"If someone knows the novel, they will notice the play tells the story, but the action of plot stops short of the novel and even the movie," Sparks said.  "Because of the length of the novel, which is made up entirely of letters, Christopher Hampton has carefully selected and pieced together the events of the play to tell the story. It shows us something fresh.  The result of Mr. Hampton's brilliant craftsmanship is dialogue that is rich, beautiful and carefully chosen."