by Rose Bostwick
High society ladies and gentlemen discuss scandals and muse on ideas of married life, transporting the audience to 19th century London with eloquent language in front of an abstract set featuring interwoven rectangular mirrors, and frames, and paintings.
Theatre Ink presents Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, directed by Spanish teacher Dan Fabrizio and senior Ellen Batutis, assistant director. The play will run tonight through Saturday night at 7:30 pm in the auditorium.
The play opens with a lavish dinner party thrown by politician Sir Robert Chiltern, played by junior Fin Grafe. Articulate men and women in lavish suits and gowns exchange lighthearted banter, through which the audience learns about the guests’ high-maintenance personalities.
When an unexpected guest from Vienna arrives on the scene, tension immediately builds. Dressed in red lipstick and an exquisite scarlet gown, Mrs. Cheveley, played by Batutis, has a dangerous ultimatum for Sir Robert: he must publicly show his support for a scheme she is planning, or she will destroy his spotless reputation with a scandal from his past.
Mrs. Cheveley’s assertive manner and hateful, destructive actions are seen in sharp contrast to the virtue and morality of Sir Robert’s loving wife. Lady Chiltern, played by senior Charlotte Thornley, is a gentle woman who is shocked to learn that her perfect, “ideal” husband could do any wrong. Batutis and Thornley do an excellent job of conveying their characters’ extremely different personalities.
Tension builds through intense dialogue throughout the play. As characters talk at length about their own situations, the witty humor and verbose language entertains and amuses the audience.
While the play captures the audience through its interesting plot, it also offers relevant social commentary. Much of the play is spent discussing marital issues and the differences between men and women, such as the idea that women expect their husbands to be flawless and then are devastated when they fail.
An Ideal Husband is an intriguing show, complete with beautiful costumes, an artistic set, and humorous and complex characters. The play’s visual aesthetic and interesting dialogue make it one of Theatre Ink’s must-sees of the year.
Tickets are $7 on Theatre Ink’s website and are sold at all lunches.