Daniel Goldhamer · February 12, 2018
Southern Virginia University theatre kicks off its spring semester with Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband,” a splendid comedy of sophistication, wit and intrigue.
Written in 1894, the play revolves around a seemingly perfect English couple, Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife Gertrude, who are rising stars of British politics and society. But when Mrs. Cheveley comes to town looking to stir up some trouble, their ideal lives are hilariously flipped upside down. Will the Chilterns find a greater love than they had before? Or will Mrs. Cheveley’s machinations drive them apart forever? Come, laugh, and see for yourself!
“Oscar Wilde is perhaps the most celebrated playwright of the Victorian period,” says Robert Stoddard, the play’s director. “He deftly uses the elements of farce and satire to expose the ridiculousness of the English aristocracy of the time.”
“What makes him a great playwright, however,” Stoddard theorizes, “is the universal way he also explores political morality and the limits of forgiveness, so that the play is still topical and hilariously funny to audiences today.”
As in the past, the Southern Virginia theatre department is pouring all of its effort into the production. “The actors have been holding rewarding, daily rehearsals since the beginning of the semester,” says Nick Dunlap, who masterfully portrays the Chilterns’ close friend and confidant Lord Goring in the play. “It’s been rewarding to see the students improve, both individually as actors and as a unit. It is always exciting to see that journey,” Dunlap says.
The actors are not the only ones who have stretched themselves. Lavish settings have been designed by Professor Brent Hanson to transport the audience to the excesses of the Victorian era. The period costumes by Professor Amaree Cluff are elegant and lovely.
The play opens on Friday, February 16, 2018, with three additional performances February 17, 23, 24, in Southern Virginia’s Chandler auditorium. Each performance begins at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7:00. The show runs for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus a 12-minute intermission.
Tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for seniors and children. Advanced tickets may be purchased online at svu.edu/box-office or by calling 540-261-8464. For more information, go to facebook.com/SVUtheatre.
Come and see this brilliant mix of love and deceit, bluster and wit and more laughs than can be counted. The production is sure to be the can’t-miss event this winter.