‘An Ideal Husband’ takes the stage today

By Katie Finlon

Deceit, blackmail and upper-class standards—this guarantees an interesting show no matter what the time period is.

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde will run will run at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 27, and 2 p.m. Oct 28 at the O’Connell Theatre in the Stevens Building. This is the NIU School of Theatre and Dance’s second production for the 2012-2013 season.

Jack Hickey is the guest director for An Ideal Husband, and he is also the artistic director for Oak Park Festival Theater in Oak Park, Ill. Regardless of age and life experience, he said there are very few differences between the actors at NIU and Oak Park.

“I love working with the students,” Hickey said. “They are all very well-prepared, well-trained. They seem willing to listen and I hope I’m teaching them something, too.”

Hickey believes the audience can relate to the play itself, along with its witty characters; his only concern is the audience’s understanding of the play might suffer because the invention of film and radio has caused increasingly shorter attention spans.

An Ideal Husband examines the public and private lives of London’s social elite toward the end of the 19th century. The play takes place within a 24-hour period and begins with a party hosted by Sir Robert Chiltern, a London politician.

When a guest tries to blackmail Sir Robert, everything takes a turn for the dramatic, and damaging secrets are revealed.

Auriel Jones (Mrs. Marchmont), sophomore BFA acting major, said the audience can see parallels between problems in the Victorian era and current times. Whether it be wanting to marry someone you like or wanting to know who has interest in you at a party, human nature has not changed much since the 19th century.

“At the root of it, it’s the same emotional problems we face today,” Jones said.

Ryan Massie, assistant director and School of Theatre and Dance instructor, thinks the themes of An Ideal Husband still hold true in today’s society, particularly in the political realm and in regard to personal gain—despite the play being 120 years removed from today.

“You’re going to relate to someone in this cast,” Massie said. “I want [the audience] to relate to the human failures and frailties, but also our successes.”