Students perform Oscar Wilde's breakthrough comedy

The Bates College theater department presents a production of Lady Windermere’s Fan, the comedy that made Oscar Wilde the toast of London at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 in the Gannett Theater in Pettigrew Hall. Admission is $6 ($3 for Bates faculty and staff, senior citizens, and non-Bates students).

Paul Kuritz, a professor of theater at Bates, directs the production. First performed in 1892, Lady Windermere’s Fan established Wilde’s reputation as a social satirist and master of the bon mot. The story of a self-righteous upper-class woman’s flirtation with social self-destruction, the play revealed Wilde’s keen eye for irony and hypocrisy, and his flair for clever repartee and pithy epigrams.

The suspicion that Lord Windermere is dallying with the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne, an older woman of questionable character, sends Lady Windermere bolting from her accustomed position on the moral high ground. She sets her eye on the charming Lord Darlington, but is yanked back from the brink of disaster by Mrs. Erlynne, who sacrifices her own reputation to save Lady Windermere’s. In so doing, Mrs. Erlynne, whose motherly protectiveness is not coincidental, personifies the distinction between social propriety and true morality.

In the Bates production, Lord Windermere is portrayed by Alex Smith, a first-year student from South Portland. Playing Lady Windermere is Alixandra Liiv, a sophomore from New York City. Lord Darlington is played by Kevin Weiler, a sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska, and the part of Mrs. Erlynne is performed by Julie Hammond, a senior from Tacoma, Wash.

For more information, call the theater department box office at 207-786-6161

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