First seen here two years ago, Ingmar Bergman's stunning production of Yukio Mishima's "Madame de Sade" has returned to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it opened Wednesday night and will be available for just two more performances, today and tomorrow at 8 P. I can't imagine a more exhilarating alternative to the Saturday night premiere of Disney's "Pocahontas" in Central Park, but be warned: "Madame de Sade" is being presented in the Academy's Carey Theater, which is not air-conditioned. Yet this is a theatrical experience of such spell-binding, gimcrack-free order that it serves to refresh the senses, no matter what the temperature-humidity index. Mishima wrote the play in , five years before his public, ritualistic suicide, which was intended to reawaken Japan's samurai spirit but only provided tabloid entertainment. In the published edition of "Madame de Sade," he said he was drawn to the story of the notorious 18th-century French aristocrat because of the remarkable character of the Marquis's wife, Renee.

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Obstinacy is the defining characteristic of Yukio Mishima's defiantly static "Madame de Sade," which is less a play than a narrative poem. By David Benedict. Why are you so obstinate? Mishima, however, opts for the reverse strategy. His de Sade is nowhere to be seen.

Instead, the marquis and his deeds and dilemmas are all refracted through the views and avowals of six women. Related Stories. The structural rigor is matched by self-consciously artificial dialogue. Dench powerfully abandons the warmth she traditionally brings even to harridan roles. Her permanently outraged mother spends most of the evening in attack mode, shooting scorn about the stage like arrows. Only in the final pivotal scene does Pike falter. Her seismic change of heart is dramatized in a long personal transfiguration in which she finally hits fiercely identifiable passion.

Pain and pleasure, Mishima argues, may be indivisible but the morality that surrounds them is deeply suspect. To find a play asking these kinds of questions in so ascetic a manner in the commercial West End is bracing, to say the least.

Home Legit Reviews. Mar 19, pm PT. David Benedict eggsbened. See All. Directed by Michael Grandage. Opened, reviewed March 18, More From Our Brands. SPY Teachers Rejoice! Expand the sub menu Film. Expand the sub menu TV. Expand the sub menu What To Watch. Expand the sub menu Music. Expand the sub menu Awards. Expand the sub menu Video. Expand the sub menu Dirt.

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THEATER REVIEW; Mishima's View of Marquis de Sade

Upon graduation from the University of Tokyo, School of Jurisprudence, in , he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but left in to devote his life to literary pursuits. He gained critical attention for his novel, "The Confessions of a Mask," at the age of Involved in the performing arts in a variety of ways, he wrote scripts for film, dance, ballet, and opera as well as publishing translations, adaptations, and criticism. He was also a director of drama and film and a performer himself.


Madame de Sade

M ichael Grandage's success has been founded on his directorial brilliance and impeccable taste. But I fear his judgment may have wobbled in choosing to revive this discussion-drama written by Yukio Mishima in , five years before he ritually disembowelled himself. The acting and staging are breathtaking but the play itself is an example of the Higher Tosh. Mishima's aim was clearly to write an elevated, Racine-like drama about the nature of passion, so he assembles a group of women all associated with the Marquis de Sade. He then has them debate, over three acts stretching from the Marquis's arraignment for poisoning and sodomy in to his release from prison in , their attitudes to his punitive philosophy.

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