"The Devil is a Woman"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 07/04/12

Jacques Cazotte's weird play takes us into the world of magic and necromancy in Spain just before the French revolution. Alvar, seeking after knowledge about all things consults with his friends about the occult and how to gain everlasting love. The friends tell him how to conjure up the devil with the aid of the five pointed star, five candles and an incantation, but warn him that all may not end happily if he takes the risk. Alvar, an unbeliever waits until he is alone and tries to call up the devil. To his astonishment the devil's voice answers the call, asking him what he wants. Alvar asks for a servant and immediately there is a handsome young man ready to do his bidding Having shown off his new servant to his friends, he decides he would rather have a beautiful women who loves him and the young man turns into female form He treats her really badly - bullies her and makes her sleep on the floor like a dog, but she appears meek and timid and obeys his every whim. But in doing so, she manages to destroy Alvar's love affair with the sexy Olympia and cause distress to his mother Dona Maria.
Venus Raven the director works on the play as if it were a film script. The whole of the acting area is black from the very beginning.and the scenes are very short with lowering of lights in between each incident. This creates a kind of jerkiness which means the story never really gets going - this is probably the fault of the adaptation which seems to have been written for Television as so many modern plays are.
Alvar is played by Greek actor Orestes Sofocleous and his friends Paul Coster and Ryan Spencer Wilson (both of whom double their roles in the latter part of the play). Kat Damvoglou gives strong and convincing performances both as Alvar's mistress, the whore, Olympia and as Lalagisa - a snake like creature that appears to Alvar in a hallucination. Noush Skaugen plays the Devil - at first gentle and submissive, but later she pays Alvar back viciously for all the contempt he poured upon her as a woman leaving him a wreck to face an uncertain future.
This is a gloomy story and a gloomy production. I am convinced that there is comedy here, but I feel the all the young people involved are incredibly serious about it.
However Venus Raven and Rahil Liapopoloulou are a brave couple of women to put on this play and, though I felt it needed a lot more work to make it viable, they are to be congratulated on their courage.

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