Five classic comedies from one of the wittiest playwrights in Western literature, alongside a masterful dramatization of Wilde’s only novel.
Lady Windermere’s Fan
The irreverent satire that launched Wilde’s succession of classical comedies. A Lord, his wife, her admirer and an infamous blackmailer converge in this delicious comic feast of scandal. A divinely funny comedy of good girls, bad husbands and the moral hypocrisy of British high society in the late nineteenth century.
An Ideal Husband
Devilishly attractive Lord Illingworth is notorious for his skill as a seducer. But he is still invited to all the “best” houses while his female conquests must hide their shame in seclusion. In this devastating comedy, Wilde uses his celebrated wit to expose English society’s narrow view of everything from sexual mores to Americans.
A Woman of No Importance
A tender love story, a glittering setting in London society and a shower of witticisms are only a few of the reasons this play has enjoyed hugely successful revivals. This 1895 drama is eerily prescient, as it explores the plight of a promising young politician, desperate to hide a secret in his past. With empathy and wit, Wilde explores the pitfalls of holding public figures to higher standards than the rest of us.
The Importance of Being Earnest
A stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, “that name which inspires absolute confidence.” Wilde’s effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One of the great classics of contemporary Western literature. Dorian Gray, an effete young gentleman, is the subject of a striking portrait by the artist Basil Hallward. Gray’s narcissism is awakened, and he embraces a lifestyle of hedonism and casual cruelties. Increasingly consumed by his own vanity, he is forced to confront his true inner-self, in a manner that is as shocking as it is terrifying.