Photos by Amanda Shaffer
“An Ideal Husband”, the second show of the season for UVU’s Theatre Department, addresses the flaws in seeking out and expecting perfection from those around us.
Written by Oscar Wilde in 1893, “An Ideal Husband” is set in high society London during the Victorian Era. Faced with complex and rigid social rules, we observe as each character attempts to create and hold an ideal image of who they ought to be. The ideals that most characters are trying to achieve include honor, loyalty, intelligence, and integrity.
When the main character, Sir Robert Chiltern (Landon Kraczek) has his ideal image threatened by Mrs. Cheveley (Allyson Mitchell) due to past actions, he becomes conflicted. He is faced with a decision to either preserve his virtuous image, or confess his questionable past to his wife and others close to him. Because of Mrs. Cheveley, Robert’s hand is forced, and he must tell Lady Chiltern (Briana Hulme) of his true nature. Although Robert is the first to reveal his true identity, by the end of the show, Lady Chiltern is also forced to expose her true self.
It is through these revealing moments that the audience is provoked to think about how they could be more authentic and understanding of those around them. “Through the show, I hope the audience can see that there is no ideal prince or princess that will fit perfectly to be our partner, but we can learn to accept flaws in the men and women around us every day,” said Kraczek.
Though the lesson of accepting flaws in others may be applicable, there are little to no flaws to accept from this wonderful production. While UVU’s version is magnificent, some of the strongest points included the distinctive costuming designs and the powerful performances of the cast.
Unique to UVU’s production, each character is initially introduced while wearing a mask. Madeline Ashton, the mask designer, explained that the masks are representative of the secrets each character is hiding from others in order to maintain the ideal images they have created. The masks were uniquely made for each of the individual characters to reflect their personalities and motives. She also explained that the concept for the masks came from the director, Isaac Walters, inspired by various lines in the script.
With Walters’ direction and all of the costume work, the performance of the cast was the perfect finalizing aspect of the show. Especially great performances included those by Kraczek and Hulme, as well Marshall Madsen who performed as Lord Goring.
Through the work done both on and off the stage, “An Ideal Husband” certainly leaves the audience contemplating the positive power of authenticity. And more than that, this show proves to be a marvelous success and an ideal addition to the 2015-16 season.