Oscar Wilde classic 'A Woman of No Importance' hits Walnut Street stage

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Walnut Street Theatre is bringing the feel of 'Downton Abbey' live on stage.

The Theatre is kicking off its 2020 season with one of Oscar Wilde's most classic comedies, A Woman of No Importance.

"It's a very funny piece," says Artistic Director Bernard Havard. "Oscar Wilde wrote this in 1893 and he was basically poking fun of the English upper class.

The story follows a beautiful, wealthy American woman who travels to England seeking to marry an aristocrat but finds herself attracted to a modest clerk.

"The plot is also a love story," Havard says, "a love story between a mother and a son and love story between two young people."

"The most challenging part of this show was actually sourcing the fabric," says Costume Designer Mary Folino, pointing out that the exact years are 1893-1895. "So what we made actually looks of the time and of the period and in the colors that I wanted."

This is the Walnut Street Theatre's first revival of the play in more than a century and Havard says it's still relevant today.

"#MeToo is relatable. Politics is relatable. Hypocrisy is relatable," Havard says. "It fills all the boxes."

A line from the play says, "The world was made for men and not for women," and, when he wrote the script, Oscar Wilde described it as a story for women. But the Walnut Street Theatre is hoping to welcome all comers.

"It's a large commentary on women and their place at that time," Folino says, "I think that both women and men can take a lot away from the play."

Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance | Get tickets | Facebook
Through March 1, 2020
Walnut Street Theatre
825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
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