Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 17
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
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COURTSHIP AND CUCKOLDERY: The ardent Harcourt (Jason Diggs) declares his love for the virtuous Alithea (Kate Miller) despite her imminent marriage to his friend Sparkish, in Theatre Intime's production of William Wycherley's "The Country Wife," playing through April 28 at Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus.

The Country Wife: Hypocrisy, Cuckoldry, Disguises and Dissimulations Abound in Intime Updating of Restoration Comedy on Sex and Marriage

Donald Gilpin

Wycherley’s indecency,” opined Thomas Babington Macaulay in reference to The Country Wife (1675) and its playwright, “is protected against the critics as a skunk is protected against the hunters. It is safe because it is too filthy to handle, and too noisome even to approach.” One hundred fifty years after the British historian’s disparag- ing comments and three hundred thirty-two years after the creation of William Wycherley’s satiric masterpiece itself, The Country Wife remains problematic for both play producers and critics.

Banished from the stage from 1753 until the 1920s because of its sex jokes and risqué subject matter, The Country Wife even today is potentially shocking with its lewdness and double entendres. But even more challenging for contemporary audiences may be the sophisticated satire, moral ambiguity, and idiosyncrasy of Wycherley’s world of aristocratic sexual politics.

University Welcomes Handel Scholars With Monumental Performance of “Hercules”

Nancy Plum

The world of Georg Friedrich Handel came to Princeton this past weekend as the University hosted the American Handel Festival, a two-day national conference featuring sessions on performance practice and interpretation, and culminating in a performance by the University Glee Club of Handel’s “musical drama” Hercules. This is not one of Handel’s better-known works; historically it comes not long after Handel abandoned the Italian opera form in which he had been so successful and began to excel in the genre of oratorio, a form he essentially invented and then owned for several decades. Hercules draws from both genres, with less of the vocal fireworks which characterize 18th century opera and plenty of the long, melodic solo lines for which Handel is known.

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