Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer Wrap Up Run in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”
Today, January 8, 2017 marks the closing of several shows on Broadway. Among these is Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the revival of Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of the novel by Choderlos de Laclos, under the direction of Josie Rourke, who is the artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse where the production originated. Janet McTeer reprised the role she played in London on Broadway at the Booth Theatre, and the role played by Dominic West in London was portrayed by Liev Schreiber in New York. Janet McTeer had previously been seen on Broadway in Mary Stuart, God of Carnage, and A Doll’s House. As for Liev Schreiber, he is a renowned star of stage and screen, whose film credits include Spotlight, the Scream trilogy, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, while his Broadway credits also include A View from the Bridge, Talk Radio, and Glengarry Glen Ross. This production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses had been running at the Booth Theatre since its previews began on October 8, 2016. Following its opening night on October 30, 2016, reviews were decisively mixed. While Ben Brantley from The New York Times despised the production, calling it an unnatural state of captivity for the talented actors on the stage, other critics were more favorable in their reviews. For instance, David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter delighted in the show, complimenting Josie Rourke’s evocative staging and the lead actors’ expert performances. Still, with the mixed critical response, the show had difficulty gaining a foothold at the box office. Over the course of the run, the show brought in an average of 66.85% of its gross potential, and it is therefore unlikely that the production will have earned any profits for its investors.
On this same date, The Encounter also brought its run to a close. Another British transfer, this play originated in London in a production by the experimental company Complicite, which specializes in works devised from found texts. Based off Petru Popescu’s novel Amazon Beaming, Complicite founder and artistic director Simon McBurney conceived of this production, and also directed and starred in it as a one-man show. The show was co-directed by Kirsty Housley, and on selected performances the role was portrayed by Richard Katz. A multisensory experience in which the audience members were instructed to wear headphones placed at each individual seat in the theatre, this play was a wild ride of the imagination, in which Simon McBurney guided the audience to experience National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre’s encounter with indigenous people in the Amazon, in which he not only lost his camera, but almost lost his life. This extraordinary tale was the makings of Petru Popescu’s groundbreaking book, but in The Encounter, the story gained an entirely new immortality in the form of this ingenious production. The show began previews on September 20, 2016 at the John Golden Theatre. Following its opening night on September 29, 2016, the critics were generally positive, with Ben Brantley from The New York Times calling the creator a world-class head-shrinker, head enlarger, and mind bender, who succeeded in reproportioning the audience’s sense to places they never expected to visit. Nevertheless, the show was a difficult sell at the box office, as it was a one-man experimental piece starring a relative unknown on the difficult terrain of Broadway. As of the penultimate week of performances, the show brought in an average of only 37.61% of its gross potential throughout the run.
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