Yesterday was World Read Aloud day and in honor of the occasion, my husband and I decided to read Lady Windemere’s Fan together. It was the first time either of us had read this particular play, although we were both familiar with An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, and I was looking forward to getting to know a new (to me) Oscar Wilde play.
Despite the fact that neither of us are actors, my husband and I were both determined to fully commit to our reading and to go full-out with (really bad) English accents and all. Our thought process was that this was supposed to be fun and that it would be more fun (and probably pretty funny) if we really went for it rather than reading calmly.
The result was that we had a lot of fun but probably looked and sounded ridiculous. At one point, I tried to infuse some of my reading with the style and flair of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, but alas, I must accept that I shall never be as fabulous as the amazing Maggie Smith. As for my husband, he had a lot of fun when he realized that Mr. Hopper was from Australia and therefore he could indulge in an Australian accent, (even if it did come out a little Crocodile Dundee for my tastes).
When push came to shove, the fact that we didn’t know the story before hand (and the aforementioned lack of acting experience and talent) really hindered our attempts to do justice to the play. There were so many secrets and agendas that we only found out after the fact that would and should have crept their way into how the lines were spoken. Oh well! Fortunately, there were no drama critics present to impress and we had a blast so I am sure the spirit of Oscar Wilde will be forgiving.
As for the play itself, while I adore anything by Oscar Wilde, I don’t think Lady W. will ever displace An Ideal Husband as my favorite Wilde play. To be honest, it was a lot more serious than I expected it to be. But to be fair, some of my favorite Oscar Wilde quotes – including the line “we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars” – come from this play, which is definitely a point in its favor. Mrs. Erlynne certainly has a kinship with Mrs. Cheveley from An Ideal Husband but with less of the wicked charm that I found so appealing in Mrs. Cheveley. There was a great deal of food for thought in the play but overall, I thought it was a little bittersweet for my tastes. Still, it was a good read and a great choice for our World Read Aloud celebration.
And if this wasn’t enough of a “wilde” time for you, my new Tea with Oscar Wilde charm necklace was featured in another treasury of handmade Etsy items. Check it out below. (And for even more Oscar themed fun, don’t miss this treasury and this one too!)
All these great finds just for Oscar Wilde ! How wild is that !!
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