Lady Windermere’s Fan
thru May 19th
“The Suffield Players: Sixty Years of Theatrical Excellence, and Counting.”
The year is 1892. The place: London, England. The playwright: Oscar Wilde.
“Are all men bad?”
“Without exception. They become old. They just never become good.”
The world was a much different place then. Oscar Wilde just released his latest comedy and satire on marriage, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and the small wooden structure where community theatre has been playing in Suffield, Connecticut was still an old town meeting place. Today, The Suffield Players have turned the trading post into theatre, and have been turning out hit after hit for sixty years. And with their 60th anniversary, what better way to celebrate the passage of time than with the timeless comedy of Lady Windermere’s Fan.
“London is full of women who trust their husbands.
You can tell: They look thoroughly miserable. I will just not be one of them.”
We want to say a lot has occurred in the last 120 plus years, and maybe as far as historical events go, it has. But the human condition often parts way with history, with history often changing course and venue around the ever static nature of humanity. And this is why Lady Windermere’s Fan is as relevant today as it ever has been. The moral of the story is that people don’t change, years do, and The Suffield Players recent adaptation of this play is masterfully done to remind us of this basic truism.
“We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars.”
Lady Windermere finds herself suspect of her husband’s recent absences away from home and does something unthinkable back in the day: Snoop through her husband’s checkbook and drawers to see if he is hiding anything. Indeed, he has been: Substantial sums of money have found its way into the hands of Lady Erlynne. Certainly, Lady Windermere suspects her husband has found another, and chaos erupts. It is not until Lady Windermere resists the temptations of another beau, and actually meets the other woman, that the plot begins to unfold. All is not as it seems, and certainly Ms. Erlynne may not be who Lady Windermere thinks she is.
The rest of the play centers of who Lady Erlynne is, and who she isn’t, both to herself and to those around her.
In a play of human emotions that were just as strong yesterday as they are today, who we are, as parents, as individuals, and as humans, remains surprisingly unchanged. All of the emotions of parenting, jealousy, marriage, femininity and male bonding in the confines of comedy is hard to do. These emotions usually have nothing funny in common, yet now, somehow, they do. You will laugh and forget if this is taking place yesterday, today or tomorrow. Behind the tears is truth, as with all comedy, and the Suffield Players did a tremendous job of performing this age old play.
“Marriage is as demoralizing as cigarettes—but far more expensive.”
The performance is largely well-cast, with special hats off to a solid, solid performance by Lady Windermere, played by Katrina Art. Ms. Art is a professional actress who calls New York City her home, and has returned to bring this role alive, and she thoroughly succeeds. But the entire cast and crew did a wonderful job, and hats off to sixty great years of community theatre at The Suffield Players.
Lady Windermere’s Fan
by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Roger Ochs