The Enchantment

HERE, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

Alland (Matthew DeCapua) propositions Louise (Fiona Mongillo) in Ducdame Ensemble’s production of The Enchantment, curated by SubtleSeries@HERE in lower Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood. Original photo by Katrin Talbot.

Do you love period fiction? Did you binge-watch every episode of Downton Abbey? Do you own a coveted first edition of Jane Eyre and a hardcover of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen? Do you vacation to America’s Castles and attend parties wearing costumes from the Gilded Age? Are you somehow nostalgic for the Victorian Era, even knowing that your modern values would never afford you happiness when a woman’s place was in the home? If this sounds like you, then transport thyself to HERE post haste for the U.S. premiere of The Enchantment!

Tommy Lexen’s new English adaptation/translation of 1887’s Den Bergtagna (by groundbreaking Swedish feminist Victorian Benedictsson), The Enchantment takes us to Paris at the height of La Belle Époque, where conservative Swedish country mouse Louise Strandberg (Fiona Mongillo) meets and falls for her favorite sculptor, Gustave Alland (Matthew DeCapua). Unfortunately, the progressive Alland is unable to commit himself to a single woman, and believes Louise should release herself from the fairy tale of happily-ever-after, and live and love him only for the moment. Further complicating matters, Louise’s sister, Erna (Jane May), was a previous victim of Alland’s charms and—still sharply feeling the pain of his moving on—continuously warns Louise not to get involved at the risk of being similarly hurt.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Enchantment is Late Victorian to the core, and director Lucy Jane Atkinson has seen to it that this modern cast (rounded out by Michael J. Connolly, Claire Curtis-Ward, Paul Herbig, Ariana Karp, and Nicholas Koy Santillo) transforms us to an era that is decidedly quaint while on the verge of change—a task made easier by Adrienne Carlile’s elaborate costumes and Mary Hamrick’s minimal but effective set design. So check it out, then come back here and tell us if it didn’t send you back 120 years! Whether you like it, love it, or it isn’t your cup of tea, your reviews help others decide if they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find future events and activities you’ll love!

Andrew Andrews attended The Enchantment at HERE in Manhattan on Friday, June 30, 2017 @ 6:30pm to write this review.