by Oscar Wilde
Written by Oscar Wilde in 1895, An Ideal Husband is a comedic stage play which follows the complicated romantic and political lives of London’s social elite who are driven by need to protect their public and private honor, often through less-than-honorable means.
The entire action of the play takes place in a twenty-four hour period, beginning at a dinner party at the home of Sir Robert Chiltern, a well known member of the House of Commons. When one of the lady guests tries to blackmail Sir Robert into supporting a fraudulent scheme to build a canal in Argentina, the various social relationships between the guests become increasingly chaotic. In true Wilde style, the dandified characters, serving their own best interests, untangle multiple and twisted sub-plots into reaffirmations of undying love, loyalty, and forgiveness.
Although Wilde personally was considered a scandalous figure during the waning years of the Victorian era, the public adored his plays, which relentlessly mocked and satirized the rigid mores and behaviors of the English “upper crust.” An Ideal Husband has been described “as close as English high comedy has ever come to perfection.” --Charles Spencer, The Telegraph.
Oct 18-21, 25-28, 2012