Set in London in 1895, this is the story of a man, Sir Robert Chiltern (played by Jonathon Lamer), who is considered “ideal,” really almost perfect, by his wife and his acquaintances, although they are unaware of a shady event in his past. Then enters Mrs. Cheveley (Ann Noble) as the only person in-the-know of it and using it to blackmail him in exchange for retaining his good reputation.
With lots of wit and funny lines, Wilde comments on the hypocrisy of society, with the inclination of most to demand great integrity from others while very little from themselves. Lady Chiltern (Gaby Santinelli), for example, is morally inflexible, expecting nothing but perfection from her husband, that is, until she herself becomes a potential victim of questionable appearances.
Few writers are able to mix humorous lines with profound truths, but Wilde does it fabulously, and at the Sierra Madre Playhouse they are often delivered with great skill by Michael Matthys as Lord Goring. With the exception of some dialogue that will sound rather sexist to most modern female ears, you’ll find a great deal of lines worth quoting.
This production, with Gigi Berminham as Director, combines the talents of a crew that includes Cesar Retana-Holguin on Scenic Design, Anna Cecelia Martin on Lighting Design, and Naila Aladdin Sanders on Costume Design. Their craft created a set that is a pleasure to behold, with colors, costumes, and a stage that at moments stands as pretty as a painting.
This is your opportunity to enjoy, learn, and consider the words of Wilde, who, although harshly persecuted for his lifestyle choices, showed in his work a constant ability to find beauty in people.
“An Ideal Husband” plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. until Feb. 23. Special performances are scheduled for Sunday Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. and Thursdays Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets range $15 to $25. Call (626) 355-4318 or visit www.sierramadreplayhouse.org for tickets and information.
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.”
– Oscar Wilde in “An Ideal Husband”