Calvin Theatre Company’s fall play boasts magnificent cast and design
It is 1895 and London’s high society is gossiping and participating in political life. But when secrets are revealed and the true colors of the men who seemed so spotless are exposed, the question is asked: what makes an ideal husband?
“An Ideal Husband” is a wonderfully witty and romantic play that addresses many moral themes while revolving around political corruption. Written by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, the play takes place in “the present” and follows a dramatic series of events that lasts for just 24 hours.
Sir Robert Chiltern, a member of the House of Commons, and his wife host a dinner party for their friends. One of the guests, Mrs. Cheveley, an old schoolmate of Lady Chiltern’s, blackmails Sir Robert. Claiming Sir Robert’s wealth began with a crime, Mrs. Cheveley asks him to use his political power to do her a favor. Sir Robert, wanting nothing more than for his wife to be disappointed and lose her love for him, searches for help in his friend Lord Goring.
This is the Calvin Theater Company’s first play of the 2013-2014 school year and is directed by Debra Freeberg. The cast is small and the play is filled with wit, charming characters and lots of laughs.
The play is performed in the Gezon Auditorium, which has effectively been transformed into a room from a large Victorian mansion. The set is beautiful and impressive. Each setting is transformed with the mere replacement of furniture while the beautiful gold walls remain. The costumes are authentic and take the audience back in time; the eveningwear, which is worn quite beautifully by the whole cast, is stunning.
The cast is magnificent. Not only does this play take place in London, so accents must be British, but it takes place in the 1800s, so the old time Victorian tongue is needed. The cast definitely delivers. The play is mostly dialogue — this may sound obvious, but there is little action and a lot of talking. I didn’t mind though because the cast spoke so beautifully that I just enjoyed listening to them talk.
Some of the characters are meant to be liked and others to be hated. I found myself hating Mrs. Cheveley, played by Jennifer Kang. It wasn’t just because of her actions but because her personality truly enraged me. I mean this as a deepest compliment; Kang’s acting was so superb that she was very unlikable.
At the same time I loved Mabel Chiltern, played by sophomore Emily Wetzel. Wilde’s description of her in the script says that she embodies the “tyranny of youth.” She was a very talkative, flirtatious and sometimes sassy character, who Wetzel played beautifully.
The cast in its entirety was splendid. They truly embodied the properness of aristocratic London throughout the play. The proper physicality and character was never broken; the cast drew the audience into the era and kept them interested with perfect comedic timing and exquisite accents. They also got a lot of laughs.
You can see “An Ideal Husband” on November 14-16 at 7:30 p.m. I encourage you to do so.