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Media Release: An Ideal Husband #3


(Spotlighting the male roles in the play) 

By Larry Steckling 

“An Ideal Husband”, by Oscar Wilde, the next production at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, is a wonderfully witty story of romance, insider trading and scandal.  It is eventually revealed that the man thought to be perfect is highly flawed, the man always perceived as having many flaws must be doing something right, and the question of the day is: What makes  An Ideal Husband?

Though this play adopts the Victorian motifs of loyalty, sacrifice and undying love, it also mocks and parodies them with its more decadent and dandified characters.

The dandified Lord Goring exemplifies this stylization of life as art, emphasizing the beauty of youth and artifice and the importance of idleness and fashion ( which were precisely Wilde’s eccentric view of life).  In Patio’s production, Mitch Bray plays Lord Goring and he likes the part because it is so many layered, like an onion.

“You see very little at first,” he says,” then as the play progresses, more and more is revealed.”

“I like the idea of discovery with this character, it makes it a very intriguing role to play,” says Bray. “ Most of the time, he is discovering something new about himself in a playful manner. And, this time I can have some fun, because I get to be a bachelor for a change.”

In recent years, Mitch has performed in many Idaho venues and in the west Yellowstone Mountain area.  He appeared in summer stock productions for the Play Mill, and at the Idaho State University Theatre he performed in “Rent”, “Joseph and The Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat”, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Black Comedy.”

The other leading male role is that of Sir Robert Chiltern, the respected political figure and happily married man whose less than savory past is revealed. Steve Murdock portrays this character at the playhouse, and he likes the fact that his character is trying to reach great things from a flawed foundation.

“The sad thing.” says the actor, “is that you have to reach back and re-construct the context to get the laughs to land for a modern day audience.  You have to plan out a lot of it with timing and physicality.”

He shares one of his favorite stage directions from the script which call for his character to “go pale” at a moment of revelation.  “I haven’t quite figured out how to do that on cue, as yet.” he says thoughtfully.

Murdock directed the acclaimed “Lear”  for Patio Playhouse and has appeared in “Charley’s Aunt” and “Lion in Winter” for On Stage Productions.

“An Ideal Husband” opens April 26th at the playhouse for a four weekend run with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.  Reservations may be made online by going to the website @ www.patioplayhouse.com, or by calling 760-746-6669. The playhouse is located at 201 E. Grand Ave. Suite 1D (corner of Grand and Kalmia, between Vinz Wine Bar and Continental Deli).