“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.”
That famous quote from one of Wilde’s best know plays, “A Woman of No Importance”, is just one you can hear in a brand new series of his works that are being performed at London’s Vaudeville Theatre.
The Wilde season is the creation of Dominic Dromgoole, former director at Shakespeare’s Globe. It kicks off with the aforementioned “A Woman of No Importance”, playing until the end of December, which contains its fair share of Wilde zingers. It continues in January with “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, directed by Kathy Burke, and starring Jennifer Saunders.
Dominic Dromgoole told BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme that this production of the play was radical in being a faithful representation of the original. He explained that “the straightforward way of doing something, which is to observe it through it’s own moment and through its own historical period and through how it was presented in its own time, becomes radical because no one else is doing it.”
Franny Moyle, biographer, (Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde US – UK) was asked in the same interview about Wilde’s interpretation of women, “Oscar’s always been really sympathetic to women, his whole career actually, was dedicated to women in various ways”. He was the first editor of Woman’s World and his mother was a huge influence on his life. After his Father died, she brought her sons to London to help advance their careers. She was an eccentric and vain character a lot like Wilde himself, who admired her for her literary talent, which he felt had been overlooked. Another biographer of Wilde has pointed out that he “is more modern than he is Victorian” and Franny Moyle agreed saying that he “was living a life that today would not have sent him to jail”.
It is fitting that Wilde’s plays are being performed in The Vaudeville Theatre as in the 1890s he saw Hedda Gabler performed there at least 3 times. It is said that this play helped Wilde to create his beautifully drawn and credible female characters.
This season of plays will run throughout 2018 more information can be found at classicspring.co.uk
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