One of the wittiest and most cynical plays by Oscar Wilde, first staged in 1890, An Ideal Husband is a story about appearance over substance, power and seduction, blackmailing and political corruption in Victorian London. In fact, a play whose theme and observations remain actual to the present day.
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Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer, poet and prominent aesthete. His parents were successful Dublin intellectuals, and from an early age he showed his intelligence, becoming fluent in French and German, then an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde became one of the most well-known personalities of his day. He produced a series of dialogues and essays that developed his ideas about the supremacy of art. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, brought him more lasting recognition. Oscar Wilde became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London with a series of social satires which continue to be performed, especially his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest. At the height of his fame and success, he suffered a dramatic downfall in a sensational series of trials. Oscar Wilde died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six.From AudioFile:
The L.A. Theatre Works performs plays tailored for a radio format before live audiences. The works are treats for the ear: Each features first-rate performances, rich but not overdone sound effects, evocative background music, expert engineering and the immediacy of an audience's live responses. AN IDEAL HUSBAND, Oscar Wilde's 1895 comedy, shows how a good adaptation of a classic play can speak to the present age. Martin Jarvis and director Michael Hackett have slightly streamlined Wilde's play about a rising politician with a secret in his past whose efforts to prevent exposure call attention to the hypocrisy of holding our leaders to higher standards than we ourselves live by. The large cast handles the witty dialogue with delicacy: Jacqueline Bisset charmingly plays one of dramatic literature's most polite blackmailers. The insouciance of the performances emphasizes rather than detracts from the play's serious theme of social hypocrisy. G.H. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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