Friday, January 10, 2014

U of I's Amanda Drinkall Set for VENUS IN FUR at the Goodman

Amanda Drinkall
The Goodman Theatre has announced casting for its upcoming production of David Ives' Venus in Fur, and the tricky, complex, sexy role of Vanda, the Venus in question, will be played by Amanda Drinkall, a University of Illinois alum just starting to break out in Chicago theatrical circles.

Since her time as an undergrad in Champaign-Urbana, Drinkall has performed as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival and Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, as well as performing in Chicago with the Goodman (Measure for Measure), Strawdog Theatre (Great Expectations), Lifeline Theatre (Pride and Prejudice), Victory Gardens (Failure: A Love Story) and The Back Room Shakespeare Project (Othello, Romeo and Juliet, A Winter’s Tale, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream). As part of the ensemble at Red Tape Theatre, she has appeared in Young Jun Lee's Lear and Pullman, WA, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, and The Making of a Modern Folk Hero. And she is listed as part of the cast for hamlet is dead. no gravity at Red Tape, opening January 27.

Drinkall's take on chilly Estella and sweet Biddy in Strawdog's Great Expectations earned her a spot on Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones' list of the best acting performances of 2013.

Venus in Fur is an interesting choice for the Goodman, given its focus on an erotic cat-and-mouse game between a director and the actress who wants a role in his play. Ives' play (and the play within the play) take their cues from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs, an 1870 century novel that depicted the kinky power dynamic between a siren named Wanda and the man who wants to be her sex slave. Sacher-Masoch gave his name to the word "masochism," by the way.

Ives' funny, modern, still kinky spin on Venus started off-Broadway in 2010, moving to the Lyceum Theater on Broadway in 2011. The play was nominated for the Best Play Tony and it won Best Actress for Nina Arianda, who played Vanda opposite Hugh Dancy's Thomas, the playwright.

For the Goodman, director Joanie Schultz will take the reins, with Drinkall and Rufus Collins, an actor with extensive Broadway and off-Broadway credits, as Thomas.

Venus in Fur is set to open March 8 in the Goodman's Albert Theatre, the 856-seat main stage, with performances through April 13, 2014.


  1. I like this play a lot. Hope I have a chance to see it at the Goodman this spring.

  2. She's a lovely actress, although this isn't exactly her usual type of role. Alwaysgood to see people break out! It's interesting they've put it in their big theater. I might've thought the material would read better in a more intimate space.

  3. I imagined it in an intimate space, too, to resemble the audition room....