Theatre presents scandalous 17th century play “The Country Wife”
By LINDSEY BROWN
“The Country Wife” is unlike any show I have seen put on by the UMW theatre department. The play was set in the seventeenth century, and it is about the scandalous lives of men and women that blur the moral lines in marriage. It is filled with sexual innuendos, dishonesty portrayed in a posh way and the dialogue of the seventeenth century.
The dialogue was a little hard to follow at times because of the different time period. It reminded me of a Shakespeare play because it is different from how we talk today, and it forces the audience to rely on the actors’ ability to portray their character well.
The main character, Mr. Horner, (played by Stephen Nickens) is the town’s ladies man, and he has quite the reputation. Mr. Pinchwife (played by Mitch Coomer) is a middle aged man who just married a young lady from the country, named Margery (played by Maddie Petroskey). Pinchwife is so afraid of his wife learning about the outside world and wanting more than him, he locks her away in the house all day.
The only outing they go on is to see a play, and Mr. Horner sees her and fancies her. This intrigues Margery and the fact that her husband locks her up every day makes her that much more intrigued. Other stories unfold of true love, disloyal wives and oblivious husbands in this interesting period piece.
The actors were what set this show apart from others in my opinion. The actors did a wonderful job portraying interesting characters with little substance, and making them more likable.
Some of the lines the actors had were so long, it was impressive that they both understood the dialogue, memorized it, and depicted the character so well to the audience. It is obvious that the director, Helen Housley, worked hard with the actors to make sure they understood the characters and the dialogue.
The costumes and the wigs were elaborate, colorful and almost became a character all their own in the show. They helped add to the characters themselves, but they also added to the time period and the ridiculous styles.
The elaborate make-up on both the men and women was both refreshing and a bit odd. It set the characters apart and made the show that much more interesting.
The sets were impressive in their fluidity of movement from each scene to the next, done by a pulley system. The background went from downtown stores, the inside of the character’s houses, and a colorful country scene. In between the scene breaks the actors came out on stage and moved the pieces of furniture for the next scene. They made it comical by the grunts of determination to pick up the furniture. The subtle wordless humor was my favorite part of the show.
The show will run from April 11 to April 20 in Klein Theatre.