Wilde Wildly Entertaining at Taproot
I confess that I’m simply wild about Wilde.
Oscar Wilde, that is.
Intelligent and flamboyant with a privileged upbringing and piercing eyes, Wilde was a true hedonist. But one who was truly ahead of his time and unaware of the possible repercussions of seeking justice in a Victorian era. For, although laden with improvements and idealism, Victorian England still had a long way to go. It was those repercussions that ended up being tragic for Wilde, who converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.
Now artists – of course – are greatly influenced by their life and times. As a writer, editor, husband, and father of two who “came out” in Victorian society, good ol’ Oscar Wilde had a lot to tell. Unfortunately, his passions and ideals did not always adhere to the intensely structured, societal mores of the time – a fact that resulted in a fate that seems common among some of our greatest individuals in history: his untimely death at the mere age of 46 years. What’s more, Oscar was penniless when he died.
Approximately seven years before his death, in 1893, Wilde wrote the comedic play An Ideal Husband, which became a stage play two years later, in January 1895 – the final years of the Victorian Era – and ran for 124 performances. Laced with humor, blackmail, political corruption, morality, and honor – both public and private – this play is set in Victorian London and takes place in a mere 24-hour period of time.
Fitting, given that the world could – and often does – change in such a matter of time. Less, even. But the real point of the play is to break the cycle of angel versus demon and show that people, be they men or women, can be both – and still beautiful. To be perfectly fine the way they are, imperfections and all. For all people are inherently flawed; regardless, they are capable of both great good and great evil.
This month, the Taproot Theatre Company is presenting An Ideal Husband, the last performance of their 2011 – and 35th – season. (Their 2012 Season Tickets are now on sale. The line-up features Tartuffe, Freud’s Last Session, Leaving Iowa, Chaps!, and Gaudy Night.) Directed by Associate Artistic Director Karen Lund, this play is filled with a fantastic cast, gorgeous period costumes, and never a boring moment. Ryan Childers plays Sir Robert Chiltern and Aaron Lamb plays Lord Goring. Both were absolutely brilliant. Candace Vance’s Lady Chiltern, Nikki Visel’s Mrs. Chevely, and Anne Kennedy Brady’s Mabel Chiltern are all delightful, as is the rest of the cast: Adrienne Littleton (Mrs. Marchmont), Joe Monroe (Mr. Montford/Phipps), Pam Nolte (Lady Markby), Nolan Palmer (Lord Caversham), Simon Pringle (Vicomte de Nanjac/James Mason), and Sarah Ware (Lady Basildon). (A further hats-off goes to Dialect Coach Gin Hammond for not butchering the British London accents!)
Oscar Wilde wrote for this play the following, oft-quoted words. First, Mrs. Chevely: “Sooner or later, we shall all have to pay for what we do.” Next, Sir Robert Chiltern: “No one should be entirely judged by their past.” Wilde also wrote the following, stated by Lord Goring: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Taproot’s version of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband runs September 21st to October 22nd, 2011. (NOTE: This play has been extended another week and will end October 29th, 2011. An additional matinée performance has also been added on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011.) Plays run Wednesdays to Saturdays, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with also a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sundays. Post-play discussions take place Wednesday nights. Tickets range in price from $27-$35, with $10 tickets for those 25 years of age and under and a Student/Senior discount of $3 off regular-priced tickets (excluding preview performances).
- Taproot Theatre’s Fall Classes are now available online.
- Taproot Theatre is participating in Arts Crush. Check their Events page for October’s events.
- Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.: Taproot’s Uncorked 2011 – their 3rd Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser. Old Vines tasting paired with light bites. (Note: Taproot also has an ongoing donations campaign.)
- November 25th to December 30th, 2011, with previews on November 18th & 19th: Beasley’s Christmas Party by C.W. Munger, based on a story by Booth Tarkington. Dinner & Theatre performances to take place on November 30th, and on December 6th, 7th and 13th, 2011. See their Buy Tickets page for this event’s ticket costs.