Tag Archives: A Woman of No Importance

“A Woman of No Importance” Talkback

Sunday’s matinee (Feb 3) was followed by a Talkback with director Paul Hardy and the cast. Oh, and the performance was SOLD OUT.  Really sold out – as in: not a single seat was empty.  Meetup group Thumbs Up Theatre brought a huge crowd, and judging from their comments on the Thumbs Up page, they really enjoyed it.  http://www.thumbsuptheatre.com/events/63549302/?eventId=63549302&action=detail

Often at Talkbacks, people are reluctant to be the first to comment or ask a question, so even though I’d guess about 90% of the audience stayed in their seats and didn’t seem shy, after Paul had the actors introduce themselves, Ramona Baillie, Executive Producer of A Woman of No Importance, started the ball rolling by asking Paul why he decided to set the play in the 1980’s instead of the 1890’s which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it.

Paul responded that he wanted to contemporize the piece, and initially considered setting it in the 1950’s, but discovered that had already been done.  So he went for the 1980’s instead – a time when the gap between rich and poor was very wide in Britain.

Then the questions rolled in from audience members.  Here’s a sampling, as fast as I could scribble:

Q:           Did you have to get permission to change that reference in the script to “Thatcher”?  What was the original name?

A:            No permission was necessary, as Oscar Wilde has been dead long enough [since 1900] that the script is in the public domain.  The original name (an imaginary person, not a real politician of the day) in the script was Cardew.

Q:           How did the modernization work for you?

A (Paul Hardy):  I’ll turn that around : how did you as the audience find it?

A:  Modernization worked well in Acts 1-3, but seemed a bit forced in Act 4.  Sensibility would have worked better if set in 1940’s or 50’s.

A (Paul Hardy): Yes, the shame [of having illegitimate child] in Act 4 was personal for Mrs. Arbuthnot, not societal.  By the way, the play is written in 4 acts; we chose to put the intermission after Act 3.

"The

Q:           What is the significance of the butterflies and window frames on the set?

A (Paul Hardy):  What does the audience think?

A:  Windows with the destroyed bottom signify a broken home, or a broken standard in society?

A: Butterflies signify a metamorphosis?

A: The transparent chairs are easy to see behind and through.

A (Paul Hardy):   I told set & costume designer Brandon Kleiman (who couldn’t be here today – he’s working in Stratford) that I wanted a very simple set because there would be 13 people onstage.  Originally the windows were intended to move all over, but Brandon nixed that!  He found inspiration in a piece of artwork that showed a dress with deconstructed hem and butterflies erupting – it spoke to us of rebirth and metamorphosis.  The deteriorated windows signify decay.

Q:           What’s the significance of the two women in old-fashioned dress who are onstage before the play starts?

A (Paul Hardy): That was just a bit of fun.  I wanted to transition the audience from 1890’s to 1980’s and give a visual cue that this production is not the usual.

Q:           The dining room scene [a silent bit in which the table is created by the servants spreading a tablecloth] was brilliantly staged!

Q:           How long does it take to learn your lines?

A (Andy Fraser – Lady Hunstanton):  I still don’t know mine!

A (Áine Magennis – Mrs. Artbuthnot):  We started rehearsing in November.  I’ve got my lines on my iPhone, and posted up all over my house, including in the shower (in a plastic protector)!

A (Nicholas Porteous – Gerald Arbuthnot):  We make filthy jokes as a memory aid.

A (James Graham – Mr. Kelvil):  It helps to know WHY you’re saying a particular line.

Q:           I’m fascinated by Lady Caroline’s walk…

A (Gillian English – Lady Caroline):  I can walk in heels better than Lady Caroline can; some of the walk was a character choice.  Partly it was because of the way the pleather pants stick to my legs.

Q:   In his book The Art of Coarse Acting,  Michael Green says there’s a line in every show that could turn the whole play around.  What’s the line in this show?

A (Paula Schultz – Mrs. Allonby):  I believe it’s “Gout” – that’s just my personal opinion!

Q:           The butler [Daniel Staseff] and the maid [Kathleen Pollard] didn’t say much, but I really enjoyed their performances.

Q:           Was Lady Caroline’s costume meant to announce the 1980’s time period to the audience?

A: [Paul gets up from his chair and surveys Gillian’s glitzy outfit]:  Yes!

A (Gillian):  I figured that with each failed marriage, Lady Caroline adds more and more materialistic armour – it’s an accumulation of gaudy clothes and jewellery.

Q:           How does the actor playing [Caroline’s henpecked husband] Sir John deal with the role?

A (Mike Vitorovich – Sir john):  I drink a lot – at least 6 in the opening scene.  And I try to do more every show!

Q:           How do the actors feel about playing characters who may hold such different opinions from themselves?

A (Paula Schultz) – The things Mrs. Allonby says about gender equality are appalling.  She’s so behind the time (in 1985).  But the more divergent a character is from yourself, the more fun it is to play.

A (Sophia Fabiilli – Hester Worsley): You can’t judge the character.  You have to love the character.

A (Andrew Batten – Lord Illingworth):  We can find facets of ourselves in every character if we dig deep enough.  Lord Illingworth is the tragic hero of this play – from his point of view, his actions make perfect sense.

Q:           Why was the Vicar [Archdeacon Daubeny] portrayed so off the wall?

A (Jason Thompson – Archdeacon Daubeny]:  He was written as a quirky character.

Q (to Jason):  Have you done any movies?  You’re very funny!

A (Kathleen Pollard jumps in):  Are you casting any?

Q:           Who in the cast is most similar to the character they played?

A (Paul, in diplomatic mode):  Performers find the truth in every character.  All the cast are genuinely nice and charming people, but they could share some of the issues of the characters they play!

A (Kathleen):  I’m not onstage a lot, so get to watch the show every night, and it’s delightful to see it growing – it’s never the same from night to night.

A (Andy Fraser):  Yes, it’s unfortunate that the run is so short [2-1/2 weeks].  It’s only by the end of the run that you go, “Oh, so THAT’S what that line means!”

Q:           Loved Lady Stutfield’s [played by Amy Zuch] constant repetition of “very, very”!

Q:           As the show evolves, are you ever horrified by the direction that new choices may take it?

A (Paul Hardy):  That’s what I have a stage manager [Margot Devlin] for!  No, I trust everyone and the work we did.  The show grows and changes, but it’s never out of the shape that I wanted for it.

Q:           Was the butler’s Groucho Marx-style schtick in the script?

A (Daniel Staseff):  No, we came up with it in rehearsal.

——- And that, folks is when my pen literally ran out of ink and my writing hand cramped up!

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Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 5

More responses are coming in!  Today we hear from Amy Zuch and Paula Schultz.

Q #1:      Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

AMY ZUCH:  I play Lady Stutfield. I tell my friends that if the ladies of WONI were the Golden Girls, she would be Rose.  A bit naive.
PAULA SCHULTZ:  I play Mrs. Allonby, a flirtatious and witty woman who enjoys male attention, a suggestive joke, and a stiff drink, not necessarily in that order.

Q #2:      Director Paul Hardy has changed the setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

AMY ZUCH: I love the 80’s so it’s been very fun to experience. If you think back to all the classic 80’s movies, class actually was a reoccurring theme. There was always the preppy kids, or the poor kid who wanted to get in with the “it” crowd that was always rich. Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful… movies like that, but maybe not those specific movies. I can’t remember. The 80’s were a while ago.
[Ed note:  yes, about 30 years.  Love the crimped hair, Amy!]

PAULA SCHULTZ:   it certainly got me thinking about the complexities of feminism throughout the ages.  The post-dinner scene in which the women discuss their differing views on men and relationships and sex and power, certainly feels like it could happen in a contemporary context.

Q #3:      Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

AMY ZUCH:   I’m still a fan of grey sweater day.  Paula [Paula Schultz, as Mrs. Allonby], Gillian [Gillian English as Lady Caroline] and I all showed up at rehearsal wearing pretty much the same sweater.

Gillian English (Lady Caroline Pontefract), Paula Schultz (Mrs. Allonby) and Amy Zuch (Lady Stutfield) are colour-coordinated at rehearsal for "A Woman of No Importance".  Photo by ASM Neena Ahmad.

Gillian English (Lady Caroline Pontefract), Paula Schultz (Mrs. Allonby) and Amy Zuch (Lady Stutfield) are colour-coordinated at rehearsal for “A Woman of No Importance”. Photo by ASM Neena Ahmad.

PAULA SCHULTZ:  Well, Mr Kelvil (the wonderful James Graham) made a spectacular entrance during one rehearsal that none of us will soon forget.  Let’s just say he was drunk.  Very drunk.  His character, I mean.  Not James.

[Ed  note:  Hmmm.  This is the second mention of James’  entrance – Gillian English described it as “committed”.  Now I’m curious to hear what James himself intended!]

Q #4:      Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

AMY ZUCH:  I love Lady Hunstanton’s [Andy Fraser] lines that call out Illingworth’s nonsense talk. And that the audience is with her. She puts herself down, like it’s her fault that she doesn’t understand, but everyone knows it’s just that Illingworth [Andrew Batten] is full of it.

[Ed note:  sorry, Andrew – looks like nobody’s buying your character analysis that Illingworth is “humble, self-effacing, warm, kind…” ]

PAULA SCHULTZ:  One of my favourite lines belongs to Lady Hunstanton (the fabulous Andy Fraser):  “No, dear, he was killed in the hunting field. Or was it fishing, Caroline?”

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A Woman of No Importance runs until Feb 9.  Don’t forget:  following this Sunday’s matinee (Feb 3), there will be a Talkback with cast, director, and maybe some designers.  Tickets are PWYC.

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Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 4

Lady Caroline speaks!  Gillian English weighs in with her character’s view on  marriage, 1980’s morals, and the infamous gold pleather pants.

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Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English) and her friend Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser) in "A Woman of No Importance".  Alumnae Theatre Company, Jan 25 - Feb 9, 2013.  Photo: Bruce Peters

Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English) and her friend Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser) in “A Woman of No Importance”. Alumnae Theatre Company, Jan 25 – Feb 9, 2013. Photo: Bruce Peters

Q #1:      Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

GILLIAN ENGLISH:  I play Lady Caroline Pontefract, Lady Hunstanton’s [Andy Fraser] best friend. She’s very quick, very witty and incredibly sure of her position in society. However, she is on her 4th marriage, and all of her bad luck in love seems to have made the poor dear insecure. Although, with the way Sir John [Michael Vitorovich] behaves, it’s not unwarranted.

Q #2:      Director Paul Hardy has changed the setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:   Lady Caroline fits in perfectly in the 1980s. It doesn’t matter if the rest of society has grown past certain social issues that would have been taboo in the 1890s; everything is a big deal to Lady Caroline. If everyone became moral and good, there’d be nothing to gossip about.

Q #3:      Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g: : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:    During one of our final rehearsals before we opened, James [James Graham, as the politician Mr. Kelvil – or “Mr. Kettle”, as Lady Caroline insists on referring to him] and Amy [Amy Zuch, as flirty/ditzy Lady Stutfield] really committed to their Act 3 entrance and James fell headlong onto the stage. I’m very glad I was offstage for that occurrence. Jason Thompson [who plays Archdeacon Daubeny] never makes a weak choice, so it’s never a wise idea to look him straight in the eye on stage, because you will corpse**; or at least I will, I don’t know you.

We always warm up as a group before a run, and once we did an exercise with some deep knee bends. By the time places were called, I was completely stuck to the inside of my pleather pants. It was a very uncomfortable first act.  Speaking of those pants, I can’t actually move when I sit down on the set chairs, because the pleather sticks to the plastic. If I have to pivot or move, I have to actually pick my butt up and swing it around. It’s very feminine.
Q #4:      Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:   I love when Gerald [played by Nicholas Porteous] says “Hello mother!” at the end of Act 4, it’s adorable. And Mrs. Allonby’s [Paula Schultz] exchange about Patagonia is hilarious, especially because she’s so drunk. And, Mrs. Arbuthnot’s [Áine Magennis] unintentional Brandy and Monica reference when she says “The boy is mine” in Act 2.

**”to corpse”:  theatre lingo for busting out in inappropriate mirth.

Blame costume designer Brandon Kleiman for the pleather pants.

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Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 3, + review

A Woman of No Importance enjoyed a bang-up opening weekend, with near-sold out, enthusiastic houses.  I had a chance to chat with cast member Kathleen Pollard at the post-show reception on opening night, and urged her to respond to the questions I sent the cast a couple of weeks ago.   So here are her answers.

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen - Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser):  "Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can't even hear my sermons now."Photo: Bruce Peters

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen – Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser): “Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can’t even hear my sermons now.”
Photo: Bruce Peters

Q#1:      Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

KATHLEEN POLLARD:  I play two characters in the show:  the first is a pretentious maid named Frances – servant to Lady Hunstanton; and the second is a shy tenant of Mrs. Arbuthnot’s house – who also essentially acts as her servant.

Q#2:      Director Paul Hardy has changed the setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?  

KATHLEEN POLLARD:  I was surprised at first when Paul announced his intention to change the setting…but I’ve been totally amazed at how timely the play really feels.  Paul made some strategic cuts to the script, and the way the dialogue flows between the characters feels very modern and I think it lends itself well to the new setting.  Gender biases and the social expectations of men and women haven’t changed that much, it would seem. The actors have also done a tremendous job of finding a rhythm to their way of speaking, which also really brings out the humour.

Q#3:      Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g. : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

KATHLEEN POLLARD:  Hmm, well…an embarrassing moment for me happened during a run of the show in our last week of rehearsal before opening night.  We were deep into the run, and partway through Act 4, when suddenly my cellphone alarm started going off.  The phone was in my jacket pocket, which I’d left in the audience seating…and even though the ringer was on silent, the alarm went off at full volume.  The thing is, my alarm ringtone is set to a dog barking.  So for the first minute or so, Paul, Margot [stage manager Margot Devlin] and Angus [sound designer Angus Barlow] are looking around wondering whose dog is outside the theatre and why it won’t shut up.  Then gradually it dawns on them that this “dog” has an awfully mechanical way of barking, and realized that someone, somewhere, had let their phone go off.  I couldn’t hear it backstage, and there was about 7 or 8 minutes left of the show, so everyone soldiered on.  But I certainly had to face the music once we finished the run.

Q#4:      Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

KATHLEEN POLLARD:  There are so many witty lines spoken throughout the play.  My characters only have about 4 lines between them…but I think one of my favourite lines is Lady Hunstanton’s:  “He died almost immediately of joy…or gout; I forget which.”.

Kathleen also filled me in on a little tidbit about Gillian English’s  costume: the gold pleather pants that Lady Caroline Pontefract wears (Lady C  apparently shares the wacky fashion sense of Eddie [Jennifer Saunders] in the Britcom Absolutely Fabulous)  are very noisy to walk in.  So Gillian has to carefully position her legs apart, or the pants will squeak!

The production has already garnered a couple of excellent reviews – see FAB’s at  http://www.fabmagazine.com/fab-blog/next-gay-theatre-review-a-woman-of-no-importance and Life With More Cowebell’s at http://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/a-woman-of-no-importance-time-travels-to-1985-alumnae-theatre/

A Woman of No Importance runs to Feb 9 – see http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/1213woman.html  for showtimes and reservation info.  You can purchase tickets online in advance (Thu – Sat shows only) at www.totix.ca  Day-of discounts are available in person at T.O. Tix booth in Yonge-Dundas Square.

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Lord Illingworth trapped in bathroom

As promised: the photographic evidence of Sunday’s excitement.  On Sunday (Jan 20), the cast of A Woman of No Importance, which opens on Friday Jan 25, had a rehearsal.   After running through the long first half of the play (it’s not really “half” – was written by Oscar Wilde as Acts I, II and III, but we’d call them “scenes” these days.  I’m calling it “half” although it’s 90 mins long because that’s the section before intermission.  Second “half” only runs about 30 mins), actor Andrew Batten (playing caddish Lord Illingworth) took a bathroom break.   When the time came to run the second half of the play, he was not to be found.  What, no one heard his pathetic cries for help; the desperate pounding on the locked door that wouldn’t open?

Well, someone eventually heard him or thought to check the bathroom, and Mike Vitorovich (Sir John Pontefract) broke the door frame in order to free his castmate.  Andy Fraser (Lady Hunstanton) went to a nearby hardware store to purchase a new door handle/locking mechanism.

In the photo, Andrew is the guy bending down, wearing a green or grey sweater.  I’m guessing that the unattached khaki-clad legs belong to Mike.  Jason Thompson (Archdeacon Daubeny) is observing from the doorway.  Thanks to Gillian English (Lady Caroline Pontefract) for the photo.

https://twitter.com/Gillian_English/status/293133052425674753/photo/1

If you can’t see the photo, Alumnae re-tweeted from Gillian: check out @alumnaetheatre.

Any eyewitness clarifications to the events of Sunday would be welcome!

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Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 2

Have been eagerly awaiting more responses from cast members, but only Jason Thompson has sent in his answers, and I don’t want to keep you in suspense.  So here goes:

Q #1:    Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

JASON THOMPSON:  I play the Rev Archdeacon Daubeny. The Reverend is a well meaning soul, but years of self-medication, due to a stomach ailment, (and a rapidly deteriorating wife) have left him a little like a man permanently in search of his wallet.

Q #2:    Director Paul Hardy has changed the setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

JASON THOMPSON:  I guess the obvious answer would be, the clothes in the 1980’s are definitely more hideous, and the working classes, a blight on the landscape in the 1890’s, were encouragingly (thanks largely to ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, the milk snatcher’) starting to disappear by the 1980’s.

Q #3:    Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g: : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

JASON THOMPSON:    Don’t ever use diminutive nouns backstage, without first conferring with Gillian English [who plays the snooty Lady Caroline Pontefract].

Q #4:    Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

JASON THOMPSON:    When Kelvil [the social-climbing M.P. played by James Graham] answers “Eight” when asked how many children he has, and when Lady Hunstanton [the party’s hostess, played by Andy Fraser] announces that she is “… quite out of my depth” during her interaction with Lord Illingworth [the misunderstood “hero of the piece” played by Andrew Batten].

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By the way, I hear that Andrew was missing after a break in Sunday’s rehearsal.  He was eventually discovered trapped in a bathroom with a malfunctioning lock.  Mike Vitorovich (Sir John Pontefract) had to break the doorframe to free him!   Gillian English (Lady Caroline Pontefract) has promised more details and a photo…

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Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 1

Alumnae Theatre Company’s production of Oscar Wilde’s social satire A Woman of No Importance opens on Friday, January 25.  To get audiences somewhat up to speed, I posed a few questions to the cast.  Here’s the first installment – more to follow, as they submit their responses.

What's a little intrigue between friends? Our upper class of characters bandy politics and morals.  L-R:  Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten), Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz), Lady Caroline Pontrefact (Gillian English, in back row), Sir John Pontefract (Michael Vitorovich), Mrs. Arbuthnot (Áine Magennis), Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser, in back row), Lady Stutfield (Amy Zuch, in pink jacket), Mr. Kelvil (James Graham), Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, with tray), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson), and in FRONT ROW: Gerald Arbuthnot (Nicholas Porteous), Miss Hester Worsley (Sophia Fabiili).

What’s a little intrigue between friends? Our upper class of characters bandy politics and morals. L-R: Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten), Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz), Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English, in back row), Sir John Pontefract (Michael Vitorovich), Mrs. Arbuthnot (Áine Magennis), Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser, in back row), Lady Stutfield (Amy Zuch, in pink jacket), Mr. Kelvil (James Graham), Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, with tray), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson), and in FRONT ROW: Gerald Arbuthnot (Nicholas Porteous), Miss Hester Worsley (Sophia Fabiilli).

Q #1:     Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten) flirts with his favourite sparring partner, Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz):  "Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman."

Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten) flirts with his favourite sparring partner, Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz): “Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman.”

ANDREW BATTEN:  I play Lord Illingworth, who I think is really the hero of the whole piece.  Humble, self-effacing, warm, kind – he’s really a remarkable guy.  Some of the other actors seem a bit confused about his character – words like “lech”, “misogynist” and “icky” have been used.  I’m not exactly sure where they’re coming from, but we’re all professionals and I’m sure all the misunderstandings will be ironed out by opening night.

ANDY FRASER:  I play Lady Hunstanton – she thinks of herself not as shallow (see question #4), but as “very practical – and terribly helpful!”

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:  I play Gerald Arbuthnot.  At first he appears to be a simple, fresh-faced and hopeful young lad with a spring in his step and a song in his heart.  As the play continues, he’s forced to question his most fundamental values. He starts off very Disney and becomes something much more complicated.

Q #2:     Director Paul Hardy has changed the period setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

ANDREW BATTEN:  I’m surprised by the continued relevance of Elton John’s music.  Apparently Elton wrote the original version of “Tiny Dancer” in 1891, but it was still very popular throughout the 1980’s.  I’ve heard a rumour that the secret to Sir Elton’s eternal life was the sale of his soul to Disney Corp., but I don’t know any of the details.

Q #3:     Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g: : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

ANDREW BATTEN: No-one ever really knows what Jason [Jason Thompson, who plays Archdeacon Daubeny] is going to do.  He puts the bold in bold choices.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do the entire show with a raw turkey on his head.

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:  For one run Paul gave Jason a note to play his character Dr. Daubeny a bit more drug-addled. He ran with it so hard that every character in the room appeared almost as high and delighted as he was. The spontaneous mirror-exercise with Lady Hunstanton was the “high”light.

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen - Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser):  "Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can't even hear my sermons now."Photo: Bruce Peters

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen – Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser): “Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can’t even hear my sermons now.”
Photo: Bruce Peters

Q #4:     Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

ANDREW BATTEN:  I really like Nic’s [Nicholas Porteous, playing Gerald Arbuthnot, son of the “Woman” of the play title] line “You know I love Hester Worsley.  Who could help loving her?” just because every time he says it Sophia [Sophia Fabiilli, as Hester] floats a few inches higher off the floor.  Also, I like every time someone says something nice about Lord Illingworth because it makes me feel like they’re finally figuring the character out (see response to question #1).

ANDY FRASER:   My favourite line (my own) is “My dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth, I dare say, in what you said, and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important.”

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:   I have to give a shout-out to “He picked up the cudgel for that pretty prude with wonderful promptitude.” Half of the amazingness of this line is that it doesn’t even need to be interesting. It shows how unstoppably clever Lord Illingworth is, even when describing his own embarrassing scandals. He can’t help it.

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Hmmm.  Since two of his castmates have now mentioned him,  doesn’t that make you curious to see just what exactly the notorious Jason Thompson gets up to onstage? Let’s hope we hear from the man himself next!  And don’t forget to reserve tickets: reservations@alumnaetheatre.com

 

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