Night and Day: Wednesday, February 27, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
As You Like It

Harry Horner wants to seduce his friends’ wives. His friends, however, know what he’s after. So, after returning from a vacation in France, he puts the word out that he has contracted syphilis. His friends are suddenly happy to leave their wives in his company, and he’s now at liberty to engage in easy, disease-free adultery with the women. That’s the premise of The Country Wife, William Wycherley’s 1675 comedy that was part of a great flowering of English stage works at the end of the 17th century. Though the play contains a few topical references to the London scene in 1675, its brutal satire on the war between the sexes has lost none of its bite. (Says the play’s insanely jealous husband, “Women are like soldiers, made constant and loyal by good pay, rather than oaths and covenants.”) Through its coarse, coruscating humor, Wycherley lays bare all the forms of hypocrisy, venality, greed, and idiocy that men and women go through for love and lust.

If UNT’s production of Wycherley’s play is too much for you, you might want to try the touring production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, which has a one-time performance at Bass Hall. Working in the same theatrical tradition 220 years later, Wilde turns the drawing-room comedy into an exercise in gorgeous absurdity. This classic yet radical farce can legitimately claim to be the greatest comedy in English history.

The Country Wife runs Feb 28-Mar 9 at UNT, University Theatre, west of Welch & Chestnut Sts, Denton. Tickets are $5-10. Call 940-369-7546. The Importance of Being Earnest is at 7pm Tue at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. Tickets are $25-40. Call 817-212-4280.


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