Lady Windermere’s Fan

Production: June 18 – July 3 2010

OSCAR Wilde’s first play is being brought to life this June, highlighting an abundance of repressed desires including jealousy, envy, love, temptation and deceit.

Directed by Jeff Watkins at the Old Mill Theatre, Lady Windermere’s Fan is a biting satire on the morals of Victorian society and follows a woman who jumps to the wrong conclusion after hearing rumours about her husband and a mysterious lady.

“Torn between her devotion and feelings of betrayal, she even contemplates giving into temptations,” Mr Watkins said.

“But she has to decide whether she will ruin her reputation with another man and what the mysterious woman’s role in the deception is.”

Mr Watkins confesses he had always wanted to direct or act in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest – and given the popular play has been done several times in recent years, his second choice was Lady Windermere’s Fan.

“Oscar Wilde wrote the play to challenge many common conceptions about theatre in the 1890s,” he said.

“Lady Windermere’s Fan is a classic tale that was ahead of its time and has so many of the familiar Oscar Wilde characters that are always a joy to watch.

“This production will show these well-known characters with a fresh liveliness while remaining faithful to Wilde’s vision.”

Involved in 44 productions over the past 18 years, Mr Watkins has a wealth of experience behind him after performing, directing and choreographing for Garrick, Old Mill, Stirling, Hayman, Marloo, Endeavour and Melville Theatres, Omnibus Productions and the University and Graduate Dramatic Societies.

He admits he has a few challenges ahead of him with Lady Windermere’s Fan, including the large cast.

“I’ve had experience with large casts before, after directing the JM Barrie productions Quality Street and The Admirable Crichton,” Mr Watkins said. “The trick is making sure no one, even those with the smallest role, is ignored.

“Being a well-known play, one challenge will be to try and do something a little unexpected while keeping honest to the original script.

“When Oscar Wilde wrote Lady Windermere’s Fan, he played with concepts that most fellow authors of the time tried to avoid.

“Many of these concepts are now quite common place but I still want to keep the spirit of breaking conventions without losing the story.”

Lady Windermere’s Fan plays at 8pm, June 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 30, July 1, 2 and 3 with a 2pm matinee on June 27. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9367 8719 or oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au.