Drawing Room Comedy The Constant Wife from Olney Theatre Center
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The last date listed for The Constant Wife was Sunday March 11, 2007 / 7:30pm.
“Somerset Maugham’s _The Constant Wife _is a comedic bonbon,” says Artistic Director Jim Petosa, “A period comedy of manners that manages to combine a gentle version of George Bernard Shaw’s social provocations with Oscar Wilde’s penchant for language that cannot help but delight.”__
Stage Director John Going (Lend Me A Tenor, The Heiress, and Morning’s at Seven) explains, “Maugham is a wonderful storyteller. His dialogue is fabulous, genuinely clever and witty. Audiences will enjoy looking into a world of people who are privileged, rich, well dressed, and more sophisticated than us.”
Constance Middleton is a calm, intelligent, and self-possessed wife of a successful London doctor, and she has decided to turn the other cheek when it comes to her husband’s infidelity. When confronted by friends who are horrified by the trespass, she shocks them with her unsentimental perspective: the value in the marriage is not necessarily related to the romantic or sexual content of the relationship. But, she does decide to take action and establishes her own economic independence (which she considers the only real independence). After a year of successful employment, she pays her husband for room and board, and goes off on a romantic Italian vacation with a longtime admirer.
“Constance’s actions,” remarks Going, “have nothing to do with revenge; she’s not silly or petty. I think Maugham’s intention is to show this woman with a sensible viewpoint, the viewpoint of equality for men and women, financially and sexually.” The inequalities of men and women pointed out by Maugham, are still very relevant. “Today, we are used to women being financially secure, even though we are not completely there yet…but sexually, we still have a ways to go. As Maugham would support, what is good for the gander should be good for the goose.”