22nd to 26th January 2008
NOTES FROM THE DIRECTOR
Oscar Wilde was born 16th October 1854 in Dublin, Eire, to unconventional parents. His mother was a poet and journalist, his father, Sir William Wilde, was a gifted writer and a specialist in diseases of the eye and ear. He also founded a Hospital for the poor in Dublin and subsequently gained an honorary appointment of Occulist to Queen Victoria.
After being educated at Portora Royal School, County Fermanagh and Trinity College, Dublin, Oscar then went to Magdalen College, Oxford. He later married Constance Lloyd in 1884 and had two sons, Cyril and Vyvian.
His first and only novel was The Picture of Dorian Gray, which caused a storm of protest with its implied homoerotic theme, considered immoral by the Victorians. His first play was Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) followed by A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895) and then The Importance of Being Earnest, which established him as a highly acclaimed playwright.
In 1891 he met Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas, the third son of Lord Queensberry. This relationship was to be his downfall and contributed to his being arrested for homosexuality. This being illegal at the time, he was sentenced to two years hard labour. He wrote The Ballad of Reading Goal on his release, penning the agony he suffered while serving his sentence. He went to live in Paris, staying in cheap hotels or relying on friends' hospitality. Sadly, this brilliant 'wit' contracted a recurrent ear infection with meningitis finally setting in and he died penniless on November 30th 1900.
An Ideal Husband revolves around the lives of two men, a successful political figure, Sir Robert Chiltern, and his friend the uninspired but utterly charming Lord Arthur Goring. Chiltern's life is perfect, thanks to his brilliant loving wife Gertrude and his quick-witted sister Mabel. Goring's life is one of lounging and flirting with Mabel and avoiding his father's insistence he should marry. The world of these men is turned upside down when Laura Cheveley arrives. With intent to blackmail Lord Chiltern, she offers him money to back a fraudulent scheme by getting parliament to agree to support an act to cut a canal through Argentina. If he refuses, she will ruin his career by exposing a dark secret of how he obtained his wealth and position. The plot is littered with Machiavellian twists and Wilde's witty lines. 'To love oneself is to have and lifelong romance' or 'in the old days we had the rack. Now we have the press.' 'Oh what a tangled web we weave'.
|The Earl of Caversham||John Souter|
|Lord Goring||Johnny Hearn|
|Sir Robert Chiltern||Pete Hamilton|
|Lady Gertrude Chiltern||Sarah Russell|
|Miss Mabel Chiltern||Rachael Courage|
|Mrs Laura Cheveley||Jan Spiers|
|Vicomte De Nanjac||Pete Burrows|
|Lady Markby||Avril Woodward|
|The Countess of Basildon||Suze Provins|
|Mrs Marchmont||George Moody|
|Mr Montford||Graham Price|
|James, footman||James Norton|
|Harold, footman/Count Orlosky||Stuart Gray|
|Mr Barford||David Pike|
|Lady Barford||Rae Kibble|
|Duchess of Marlborough||Pam Cook|
|Extras||Jo Fox, Jo Iacovou, Craig Hinchman, Johnny Carrington, Craig Mintram|
|Production Manager||Graham Buchanan|
|Stage Manager||Kathryn Salmon|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Hannah Stansbridge|
|Lighting Design||Clive Weeks|
|Lighting Operation||Greg White, Ivan White|
|Sound Design||Jamie McCarthy|
|Sound Operation||Jamie McCarthy, David Ilsley|
|Properties||Gill Buchanan, Liz Hill, Alison Tebbut, Ella Lockett, Helen Officer|
|Costume Design||Serena Brown|
|Set Design||Peter Liddiard|
|Set Construction||David Jupp, Roger Lockett, Graham Buchanan,|
|Stage Crew||Geoff Cook, Dave Fancett, Craig Mintram|
|Marketing||Sarah Russell, Angie Stansbridge and the marketing team|
|Publicity Design||John Hamon|
|Front of House Coordinator||Julia Jupp|
|Front of House Display||Paula Beattie, Angie Stansbridge|
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