Autumn News 2013

Rehearsals are well underway for our autumn production An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.  This has been abridged for the drama club by our Chairman Joan Hillery Robinson who is also the director and producer.  Oscar Wilde may have approved of this as he said himself that he thought the play too long.  It is a witty story of romance, insider trading and scandal and was extremely popular with Victorian and Edwardian audiences running for over a hundred performances.

Many of the themes of An Ideal Husband were influenced by the situation Oscar Wilde found himself in during the early 1890s.  The play is about a hidden scandal, blackmail and the inability of a man to share his faults and failings with his wife.  Wilde’s own life with his wife Constance, seems never very far from the play.

The enduring popularity of the play is undoubtedly down to its wit and humour.  Wilde cleverly emphasises the hypocrisy of society, minor characters are an important vehicle for this theme constantly portrayed as two-faced, saying one thing one moment the turning round to say the exact opposite (to great comic effect).  For example, Lord Caversham exclaims near the end of the play that Mabel displays a great deal of common sense after earlier stating that ‘common sense is the privilege of our sex’.

The narrative of the play focuses on political corruption, the story of scandal in the life of a politician and the threat of press exposure is a theme which has had relevance in every decade over the last hundred years and will doubtless continue to do so.

October 2013