|A Woman of No Importance | July 17 – August 23
By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Will Rhys
Sponsored by Robert and Moira Fuller
In this dark comedy of serial seducers, moralizing monogamists, secret pasts, and simmering heartbreak, which will the idealistic young Arbuthnot choose—social advancement or loyalty of the heart? Surely the basis for Downton Abbey, Wilde’s deliciously witty satire lays bare the moral contradictions of Victorian England.
Asst. Stage Manager
*Member of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.
*** Member of the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers.
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From the Director
What to say about Oscar Wilde? Who better to answer that question than Wilde himself? When, upon arriving in New York City in 1881 to begin a lecture tour in the United States, he was asked by a newspaper reporter if he had anything to declare. His answer: “Nothing but my genius.” Wilde, throughout his life, dressed himself in epigrams such as that (as well as custom-made coats—one in the shape of a cello, velvet knee britches, lace cuffs, fedoras and, more often than not, a spray of flowers in his buttonhole). His witticisms, liberally skewering late-Victorian society and innumerous unfortunate individuals, were his calling card. At a reception he reportedly greeted someone with the biting line: “Oh I’m so glad you’ve come! There are a hundred things I want not to say to you.” At a lunch party he declared that there was no subject upon which he could not speak at a moment’s notice. Someone suggested “The Queen,” to which Oscar replied “She is not a subject.”
Wilde claimed, during his American lecture tour, that “we spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.” In A Woman of No Importance, Lord Illingworth (whom Wilde claimed was based on himself) says, somewhat differently, “There is no secret of life. Life’s aim, if it has one, is simply to always be looking for temptation.” Thus, Wilde, forever seeking temptation, could not avoid tempting even the solemn moments of his death. As he lay dying of cerebral meningitis, he looked at the shabby wallpaper in his room and is reported to have quipped, “One of us had to go.”