Kennedy Theatre Presents THE COUNTRY WIFE
The University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Department of Theatre and Dance and Kennedy Theatre are proud to present The Country Wife by William Wycherley. Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre, Stacy Ray, this comedy of manners written in 17th century England is known for its outrageous characters, bawdiness, and satirical, sometimes farcical, view of sexuality and marriage. This quick, fun, and shameless production runs April 24, 25, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m., and April 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre; a free post-show rap will follow the April 26 performance. Tickets are $8-$18.
It's a 17th century Tinder play, says director, Ray. These characters are looking at each other and really thinking, 'Should I swipe left or swipe right?' And if one of them decides to 'swipe left' another comes in and 'swipes right'. The Country Wife is a comedy of manners, otherwise known as a Restoration comedy. This style of play was written and performed in the Restoration Period of England between 1660 and 1710, and these plays often satirically and wittily pointed out the lewd behavior of the aristocracy. Ray states, Restoration comedies are outrageous and hilariously fun. They take place in a very open and promiscuous time, and they are full of innuendos and buffoonery. There is a reason these plays were the entertainment of the times.
The play starts with Horner (Dean Mo) discussing his plot to spread a rumor around town about himself being a eunuch. Believing this gossip, the aristocratic men and women think that he is impotent, so the men allow Horner to get close with their wives in a way other men would not be able. Horner then begins seducing the women of the town in an effort to get them to cuckold their aristocratic husbands. One man who does not fall prey to Horner's scheme is Pinchwife (Tyler J. Haugen), who has married a na ve country girl, Margery Pinchwife (Emily Steward), and vows that he will not be cuckolded by her. Pinchwife attempts to conceal his wife from the rest of society, but despite his attempts, Horner still manages to get to Margery, who falls in love with him. Throughout all of this outrageous activity, Alithea (Christine Chang), Pinchwife's sister, is engaged to marry Sparkish (Claire Fallon). However, Horner's acquaintance, Harcourt (Annastasia Fiala-Watkins), is in love with Alithea and attempts to win her over and to make her fall in love with him.
Comedies of manners are characterized by a unique style of acting, costuming, hair, and makeup. The corresponding elements in this production combine these traditions with a modern sensibility. Acting styles from Restoration comedies are part of the Western theatre performance curriculum at UH. Many of the students in the cast took a period styles course taught by Paul Mitri to prepare for this production. Our students are trained in this style, and this production is a direct extension of that training, a chance for them to actually practice what they are taught, says Ray. While this production will use this acting style, Ray wants to emphasize, the humanity of these characters; these characters are like us. They get jealous; they experience desire, so there are moments where these characters may break out of the style so we can see their true nature. In addition to the acting style and makeup, the costumes will be true to the silhouette and structure of 17th century fashion by using corsets, skirts and bum rolls, short pants, tights, high heels, and powdered wigs.
Tickets to The Country Wife are on sale online at etickethawaii.com, by phone at (808) 944-2697, and at official outlets. Sales at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office begin on Monday, April 22, 2019. Ticket sales at the Box Office are available Monday through Friday from 10:00a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with extended hours on show days.
Photo Credit: John Wells