I saw *The Enchantment* at HERE Arts Center on 7/22/17. This was the American premiere of a play by Swedish author Victoria Benedictsson (1850-1888). Benedictsson is best known for having been the real-life inspiration for Ibsen's *Hedda Gabler* and Strindberg's *Miss Julie.* I heard about the play because it was being produced by Ducdame Ensemble, a theatre company founded by my friend Ariana Karp and classmates from her 2014 graduating class of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
The play has four main characters:
Louise: a young Swedish woman living in Paris.
Alland: a sophisticated French sculptor who encourages Louise's infatuation with him.
Viggo: Louise's stepbrother, a writer.
Erna: Louise's best friend, a painter, one of Alland's ex-lovers.
The characters were well drawn and the plotting was intriguing. The language was a little clunky, which could be the style or the translation. The clunkiness didn't bother me so much after a while, so I guess I just needed to get used to it. One of the most interesting things about this production was the casting - - there are fourteen roles in the play, and they were played by a company of eight actors. Ariana played three roles, and also played the cello! She was delightful, I especially liked her first role, the working-class French landlady.
Fiona Mongillo was very strong in the central role of Louise. The play is about her and she masterfully communicated the emotional journey of the character. Matthew Decapua oozed charisma as Alland. I had the feeling that someday, five or ten years from now, I might be saying, "I saw him when!" He has all the makings of a Hollywood leading man. Check back with me in five or ten years.