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John Kinzer
IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oscar Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband' to play at IU during ArtsWeek 2009

WHAT: An Ideal Husband, presented by IU's Department of Theatre and Drama
WHEN: Opens Feb. 27, with performances Feb. 28 and March 3-7, all at 7:30 p.m. with an additional 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, March 7.
WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center
TICKETS: Ticket prices: $20 for adults, $15 for those 30-and-under, students and seniors on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and the Saturday matinee. Student Rush Tickets are available the day of each performance for $12 cash with valid IU Bloomington student ID. Call the box office at 812-855-1103 for ticket information or group rates. Purchase tickets in person at the IU Auditorium box office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center box office which opens one hour before show time. To purchase tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at 812-333-9955, or buy online at

Feb. 10, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Insider trading. Blackmail. A marriage on the rocks.

An Ideal Husband was originally published in 1895, but the themes of Oscar Wilde's satiric play are as relevant today as when he originally wrote about them. An Ideal Husband is staged by Indiana University's Department of Theatre and Drama as part of IU's 25th annual ArtsWeek celebration.

In order to profit from a political pork barrel project, a blackmailer accuses a public servant of insider trading. An Ideal Husband cleverly tackles the issues of whether his trusting wife will forgive him and whether her career, her reputation and their marriage will be destroyed.

"This thoroughly contemporary, deliciously clever play still resonates today," said John Kinzer, director of audience development in the Department of Theatre and Drama. "Oscar Wilde uses farcical humor and satire to insightfully dissect universal political and moral issues."

Wilde writes "comedy with true substance," allowing his engaging characters to lampoon their own society, said Kinzer. Director Fontaine Syer says the play resonates with audiences today because it's essentially about values.

"The reason the play still has something to communicate is that the inside of human beings hasn't changed that much since Oscar Wilde's day -- it's just that the externals have changed," said Syer, an associate professor of acting and directing at the Department of Theatre and Drama.

"We still are faced with many situations where we have to decide what we value, and most of us operate on a kind of sliding scale in the values department," Syer said. "How many crimes does someone have to commit before we lose all sympathy and compassion? What kinds of crimes are we willing to essentially sweep under the rug? Is it a good idea to move from conditional love to unconditional love between a married couple? Absolute values are hard to live by. Relative values are almost essential in all our lives."

"An Ideal Husband"

First-year master's students in acting Eric Young (as Lord Chiltern) and Sarah Fischer (as Lady Chiltern) star in "An Ideal Husband," presented as part of IU's 25th annual ArtsWeek by the Department of Theatre and Drama.

Print-Quality Photo

The design team of this production includes four third-year master's students presenting their thesis projects: Seamus Bourne, scenic designer; Cynthia Murphy, light designer; Mary Weber, technical director; and Alicia Bailey, props master. Other members of the design team include master's students Erica Griese, costume designer; Liz Replogle, sound designer; and Jared Rutherford, scenic artist.

The cast is led by third-year master's student in acting Matthew Buffalo (Sam in The Wild Party, Sorin in The Seagull, Cat in the Hat in Seussical), who plays Lord Goring for his master's thesis role; first-year master's in acting students Sarah Fischer (Lady Chiltern), Abby Rowold (Mrs. Cheveley), and Eric Young (Lord Chiltern) and senior Rosemary R. Schwartzel Scholar Justine Salata (Mabel), whose recent Norvelle Center credits include her performance as Ophelia in Hamlet.

The diverse cast is rounded out by Nile Arena (French Ambassador), Jeff Corso (Sir Barford), Isabel Dieppa (Mrs. Marchmont), Gina DiSerio (Lady Basildon), Kevin Dolan (Mason), Kaleb Havens (Tommy Trafford), Matt Herndon (James), Raymond Lee (Harold and Sir Marchmont), Sarah McCarroll (Lady Markby), Johanna Moffit (Duchess Maryborough), Christina Rahn (Lady Barford), Kevin Sheehan (Mr. Montford), Graham Sheldon (Phipps), and Taylor St. John (Lord Caversham).

STUDENT FLEX PASS: IU students only are invited to purchase a new "4, PLUS 1 STUDENT Flex Pass" for the three remaining shows of the spring 2009 semester. The $48 Flex Pass book ($60 value) includes four flex pass vouchers plus a fifth voucher that can be assigned to a friend. Students can beat the recession at the best prices to see a semester of engaging theatre.