A woman's past comes back to haunt her when the lover who left her to raise their child alone becomes the potential employer of their illegitimate son. Wilde skewers gender bias and the outdated rules of Victorian society in this early feminist comedy of manners. This is the Fools’ first foray into the witty world of Oscar Wilde.
"David Wilcox is a stand-out as the foppish cad Lord Illingsworth... Tegan Ashton Cohan is excellent as Mrs. Allonby... a fine play with a modern message that still resonates." -Stage Raw
Friday, November 21: DONATE WHAT YOU CAN. It's "Pay What You Can" with a twist! Half of all proceeds for this performance will be donated to Prototypes, whose mission is to rebuild the lives of women, children and communities impacted by substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence. Tickets that night may only be purchased at the door. Call (310) 281-8337 to make a reservation.
Photos by Geoffrey Wade Photography
David Wilcox as Lord Illingworth
Christine Sage as Miss Hester Worsley
Sean Gibson as Gerald Arbuthnot
Alexa Hamilton as Mrs. Arbuthnot
Cynthia Beckert as Lady Hunstanton
Tegan Ashton Cohan as Mrs. Allonby
Lauren Van Kurin as Lady Stutfield
Thomas Ashworth as Mr. Kelvil, M.P.
Chairman Barnes as Sir John Pontefract
Kathy Bell Denton as Lady Caroline Pontefract
Jay Bogdanowitsch as Footman
Whitney Nielsen as Miss Hester Worsley
Daniel Ramirez as Gerald Arbuthnot
Libby Baker as Mrs. Arbuthnot / Lady Hunstanton
Dana DeRuyck as Mrs. Allonby
Casey McKinnon as Lady Stutfield
Korey Simeone as Mr. Kelvil, M.P.
Jay Bogdanowitsch as Sir John Pontefract
Producer - David Mayes
Associate Producers - Dana DeRuyck & Heather Schmidt
Choreographer - Cate Caplin
Assistant Director - Mandi Moss
Stage Manager - Rebecca Schoenberg
Costume Designer - Linda Muggeridge
Set Designer - JR Bruce
Lighting Designer - Christina Schwinn
Sound Designer - Jaime Robledo
Dialect Coach - Sasha Higgins
Tea Consultant - Cassandra Vincent
Assistant Stage Manager - Bo Powell
Key Art - Christopher Komuro
Oscar Wilde’s satire of English upper-class society has solemn and feminist undertones to it, making a precursor of the “dramedy of manners.” After all, it was first performed in 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. The titular “Woman of No Importance” turns out to be a survivalist who suffered scandal, estrangement from her father (and his fortune) and single motherhood in an age where that route caused irreparable damage to one’s reputation, and social ostracism. Her disgrace is due to her being cast aside by an upper-class fellow who preferred to dodge the whole affair and its untimely product. He, of course, maintained his social standing — a commonplace societal injustice that Wilde dares to expose.
We meet a gaggle of toffs at someone’s country estate, circa late 1890s, as indicated by the glamorous embroidered gowns, tiaras and elaborate diamond necklaces. The idle chitchat that forms the substance of the play, especially during the non-eventful Act 1, is typical conversation stylishly captured by Wilde, that observes and comments scathingly on frivolous upper-class mores. Beneath these tableaux vivants of jolly high society runs a cautionary tale, examined during Act 2. This involves the Woman of No Importance – the maligned and bitter Mrs. Arbuthnot (a steely performance from Alexa Hamilton) and her son Gerald (Sean Gibson) who, now that he has come of age, has been offered a fine position with the newly anointed Lord Illingsworth. Mrs. Arbuthnot is at first thrilled by her son’s promising new appointment — that is, until she learns who his new employer is to be.
...David Wilcox is a stand-out as the foppish cad Lord Illingsworth. At first he seems to be a mouthpiece for Wilde, seeing as he is permitted to utter the play’s most witty ripostes and pithy aphorisms, but Wilde actually reserves some of his most brutal condemnation for the vile cad. Tegan Ashton Cohan is excellent as Mrs. Allonby, the woman who best matches wits with Lord Illingsworth.
A Woman of No Importance is a fine play with a modern message that still resonates.
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