|Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (May 26, 2016) — A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde’s stylish comedy that exposes the cynicism and hypocrisy that underlies high “society”, begins previews Sunday, May 29 at the Festival Theatre. This dangerous drama, directed by Eda Holmes, is the fourth major Wilde play to be presented under Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell’s tenure — completing Wilde’s brilliant, scalpel-like study of the world around him.
Taking inspiration from photographer Cecil Beaton’s celebrated Vogue fashion shoot and the creations of couturier Charles James, designer Michael Gianfrancesco’s set and costumes transport the play to the fabulous 1950s – evoking striking parallels between the decadent high societies of the Victorian era and the booming post-war decade. Kevin Lamotte’s lighting design and John Gzowski’s original music and sound design complete the on-stage portrait.
A lively group of aristocratic women converge on the terrace at Lady Hunstanton’s (Fiona Reid) country house party. Among them is Hester Worsley (Julia Course), a visiting American heiress; entitled Lady Caroline Pontefract (Mary Haney) and dazzling narcissist Mrs. Allonby (Diana Donnelly). Marriage, affairs, divorce and, of course, the wickedly attractive and scandalously unmarried Lord Illingworth (Martin Happer) are all thoroughly discussed. Illingworth, who aspires to be a diplomat, plans to make the young Gerald Arbuthnot (Wade Bogert-O’Brien) his protégé. But when Gerald’s mother, Mrs. Arbuthnot (Fiona Byrne), arrives at the party, their lives are forever changed as she lays bare a long-concealed secret.
The Shaw’s production of A Woman of No Importance also features the talents of Claire Jullien, Thom Marriott, Jeff Meadows, Jim Mezon and Ric Reid.
A Woman of No Importance is on stage at the Festival Theatre (10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake) from May 29 to October 22 (opening June 25).
This Shaw Festival production is sponsored by CIBC.
Cast (in alphabetical order):
Miss Hester Worsley
Francis, the servant
Alice, the maid
Farquhar, the servant
Lady Caroline Pontefract
Lord Alfred Rufford
Mr Kelvil, MP
Sir John Pontefract
Archdeacon Daubeny, DD
Creative & Production:
Composer & Sound Designer
Assistant Stage Manager
The Shaw Festival’s 2016 season is on stage April 9 through October 23. The playbill features Alice in Wonderland, A Woman of No Importance, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Uncle Vanya, “Master Harold” …and the Boys, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, Our Town, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Engaged, and The Dance of Death. Tickets for the Shaw Festival’s 2016 Season are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-7429 or online at www.shawfest.com.