Oscar Wilde Comes to Sharpstown: The Saint Constantine School Puts on Play "An Ideal Husband"

Oscar Wilde Comes to Sharpstown: The Saint Constantine School Puts on Play "An Ideal Husband"
Image Credit: The Saint Constantine School

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

That witty line was penned by Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright who poked fun at Victorian society in late-1800s England. He’s famous for plays like The Importance of Being Earnest and his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which some Houstonians may have been forced to read in college.

This weekend, he’s coming to Sharpstown.

Well, sort of. He died nearly 123 years ago. But he’s coming in spirit…er, in drama.

The faculty of The Saint Constantine School, Sharpstown’s Eastern Orthodox K-12 private school (and college), are putting on a staged reading of Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband, in which the scheming Mrs. Cheveley attempts to blackmail successful politician Sir Robert Chiltern. Chiltern struggles to keep his insider trading a secret from the public—and from his wife, who thinks he’s perfect. Another character, the “dandy” Lord Goring, delivers the clever line about passing on advice (and many others).

This is TSCS’s first faculty play, starring Jonathan Mueller, Megan Mueller, Carrie Midani, Kris Yee, Elizabeth Cogburn, Nick Dalbey, Laura Nicol, Robin Townley, Sarah Stieglitz, Galen Nicol, Jayne Meyncke, and Matthew Haggerty.

“Staged reading” means that the actors can use their scripts and won’t have to memorize all their lines, but that doesn’t mean it will be boring. Staged readings are a time-honored theater tradition, and the actors have still rehearsed.

The play will be held at the Wise Academic Center on TSCS’s North Campus at 7100 Regency Square Blvd. The 7 PM Friday showing is sold out, but there are still tickets available for the second showing on Saturday, 9/9, at 7 PM.

Tickets sell for $25 and include an “English High Tea,” which means that servers will stand on ladders when they pour from the kettles. Er, actually, it just means that theatergoers can expect hot tea, sandwiches, and possibly cookies.

According to TSCS’s Facebook page, “All proceeds go toward the completion of our new on-campus black box theater, and the production of this year's student plays.”

It’s probably a good thing that the money isn’t going to Oscar Wilde. Anyone familiar with Wilde’s licentious lifestyle may appreciate this roast by the English writer G.K. Chesterton:

“Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets. But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets. We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde.”*

*Chesterton, G.K. Orthodoxy. Lexington, KY, 2013 (p. 56). From Chapter IV, “The Ethics of Elfland.”