For nearly two centuries, “The Country Wife” was considered too scandalous for the stage. But it’s precisely because of its clever satire and cheeky dialogue that the comedy is opening at Willamette University April 16.
“It’s a great play, in a fresh adaptation, being performed with incredible production values,” Director Jonathan Cole says. “The show will delight, shock and intrigue the audience — and overwhelm the senses.”
The story is based on several plays by French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name, Molière. It paints a picture of a rakish hero named Horner, who regularly brags, cheats and lies to seduce the wives and daughters of London’s most prominent businessmen.
However, when a young country wife, Margery Pinchwife, threatens to reveal his true character to the public, Horner must pull out all the stops to protect his reputation.
Full of puns, overblown costumes and a plethora of innuendos, the story is set in Restoration England in the 1670s and shows the dirty tricks — from bribery to threats — that permeate the inner chambers of 17th century London’s upper crust.
“This will be a riotous journey into a sparkling world of wit, intrigue and naughtiness,” Cole says. “The language is incredible, the wit sharp, and the physical comedy tremendous.”
“The Country Wife” is showing in the Willamette University Pelton Theatre April 17 through May 2, with a preview performance April 16. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and matinees begin at 2 p.m. April 19, 26 and May 2.
General-admission tickets for the preview performance cost $8, the same as all tickets for students and seniors 65 and older. Matinees are $10, and evening performances are $12.
Tickets may be purchased at the door, by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also available at www.boxofficetickets.com and at Travel Salem, 181 High St., 503-581-4325 Ext. 121.