Fall theatre production of the iconic Oscar Wilde play shows that one woman’s voice can change everything.
October 11, 2023
The Asbury Theatre Department’s presentation of Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance” opens November 2, 2023, at Asbury University’s Greathouse Theatre.
Catherine Gaffney, Asbury Theatre instructor, directs this newly relevant stage production that challenges conventions, binding today’s society and forcing audiences to question their own prejudices. “A Woman of No Importance” is set in the waning years of 19th century England, not long after Parliament passed the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882.
“Oscar Wilde held a mirror to society,” says Gaffney, “giving audiences a first-hand account of the social upheaval that occurred when the value of a woman was no longer contingent on her position as the wife of a man.”
Stage Designer, Professor Kris Dietrich, along with Gaffney, mirror the play’s society in the set design. As the story unfolds, the actor’s stage space continues to shrink, representing a growing examination of society and tightening tension between the characters before everything explodes at the end of the play.
The story draws parallels with biblical wisdom texts on the wise and foolish brought to life by lively and memorable characters, bringing a strong comedic element to the performance that is both enjoyable and thought-provoking.
“For students at a Christian University like Asbury, the story sparks fresh conversations about hypocrisy and intolerance,” says Gaffney. The show ultimately questions where humans find their worth: in society’s calculations or God’s love? As Oscar Wilde says, ‘Who, being loved, is poor?’”
Along with two weekends of performances, each Friday evening performance will be followed by interactive talkback sessions facilitated by Director Gaffney and Asbury professors exploring key themes from the play.
Sociology professor Dr. Lisa Weaver-Swartz will discuss the changes or lack thereof in gender and society on November 3, while English professor Dr. Erin Penner will explore literature’s power for social change on November 10.
Opening night will also consist of a celebratory reception honoring the start of the 2023-24 theatre season. Everyone is welcome.
Performance Dates and Times/Ticket Information
Tickets on sale now at asbury.edu/theatre/tickets. Tickets are $10 for students and senior citizens, $12 for faculty and staff, and $15 general admission. Group rates are also available by contacting Theatre Program Director Kris Dietrich. Students or Asbury community members can sign up to usher, which will allow them free admission.
About Asbury University Theatre
The Asbury University Theatre program has a rich and creative performance tradition where students find opportunities to develop acting techniques for stage and screen, proficiency in directing, and in-demand stage production and design skills. In addition, Asbury Theatre students have gained international experiences participating in acting intensives at The Globe Theatre in London and performing original plays at the renowned Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. To learn more about Asbury’s Theatre program, visit asbury.edu/Theatre.