LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
12th - 14th March, 2015
2015 Phoebe Rees Awards
Best Female Cameo: Lois Harbinson as The Duchess of Berwick
The story concerns Lady Windermere, who suspects that her husband is having an affair with another woman. She confronts him with it but although he denies it, he invites the other woman, Mrs Erlynne, to his wife's birthday ball. Angered by her husband's supposed unfaithfulness, Lady Windermere decides to leave her husband for another lover.
Lady Windermere’s Fan, the first of Wilde’s social comedies, opened on February 20, 1892, in London to lukewarm reviews.
A four-act play that employs what are often regarded in drama as cheap tricks—mistaken identity, the lost child restored to the rightful parent, the conversation overheard while hidden, and the romantic triangle—this play ultimately succeeds because it twists the clichés with which it is working.
The mistaken identity remains mistaken, the lost child (Lady Windermere) never knows that Mrs. Erlynne is her true mother, and the romantic triangle is really not a romantic triangle, but only appears to be.
After discovering what has transpired, Mrs Erlynne follows Lady Windermere and attempts to persuade her to return to her husband and in the course of this, Mrs Erlynne is discovered in a compromising position. It is then revealed Mrs Erlynne is Lady Windermere's mother, who abandoned her family twenty years before the time the play is set. Mrs Erlynne sacrifices herself and her reputation to save her daughter's marriage.
The best known line of the play sums up the central theme: we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. — Lord Darlington