An Ideal Husband

by Oscar Wilde

directed by Moyra Allen

Performed at the

Nuffield Theatre

on

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'.

Moyra Allen

The Cast
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
Mason Ian Wilson
Phipps Ken Spencer
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 Team
Director Moyra Allen
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
Programme Luciana Lattanzi
Photography Clive Weeks
Front of House Coordinator Julia Jupp
Front of House Display Paula Beattie, Angie Stansbridge

 

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