September 9th, 2004

Lady Windermere's Fan

This was one of Oscar Wilde's early hits on the stage.  I just got done watching a 1985 BBC production of it.  I saw it on VHS from the library, but it also seems to be currently available as part of a box set of Wilde's classics on DVD.

Helena Little, who does not play the title character, certainly steals the show, and some of this must be credited to her marvelous acting.  But, really, it's mostly Wilde's doing.  He gave her role the most authentic drama and complexity.  She is the disgraced divorcee with a secret, which practically guarantees she will get all the attention, especially in a Wilde drama.

At least 3 of Wilde's key dramas (this one, Ideal Husband, and the Importance of Being Earnest) are centered on characters who fear losing their social standing because of some kind of threat of exposure.  Ironically, of course, this is exactly what happened eventually to Wilde himself, who died in disgrace.  I guess you could say that in this respect he wrote from the heart.

Rhyme of the Day:

Beneath the wit and play of words
A fearful heart is heard.