Drama department presents ‘The Way of the World’
Drama department presents ‘The Way of the World’January 26, 2009Patrick Finlonstagepr@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Department of Drama will present William Congreve’s “The Way of the World” Feb. 6-15.
A man willing to go any lengths to secure a wealthy wife meets his match in this comedy of manners. Witness the complex twists in the plot and watch as it all unravels as Mirabell maneuvers and schemes to achieve his desired social status through an advantageous marriage. Tickets are available at (315) 443-3275 or by visiting http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.
“The Way of the World” provides a satirical glimpse into 18th-century England’s upwardly mobile class. Marriage, money and class are the keys to survival in this society, leading one to question the existence of a romantic foundation to marriage. Congreve’s final play, “The Way of the World” is considered a shining example of Restoration comedy, a genre known for its humor regarding relationships, as well as an emphasis on elegance, class and manners.
“I was attracted by the richness of the characters and the elegant, beautifully constructed language through which they express themselves. They compete with each other both in appearance and in clever word play,” notes director Malcolm Ingram. “Unlike Shakespeare, it’s as if their passion is always channeled and expressed through their intellect, and I felt that this would present a very worthwhile challenge for myself and the students.”
Restoration comedy propelled audiences to dizzying heights of laughter. Written in 1700 during a time of transition from conservative to liberal attitudes, “The Way of the World” is a social commentary on the blurred line between the desire for romance in marriage and the need for financial security. To emphasize this point, Congreve set a precedent in both the theater world and high society by having Mrs. Millamant, who does love Mirabell, insist he sign a pre-nuptial agreement that will preserve her control over her inheritance once they are married.
Although “The Way of the World” was coolly received when it was first performed, it has since come to be considered one of the most intellectually accomplished English comedies. The story revolves around a pair of lovers, Millamant and Mirabell, who establish a rather unconventional marriage arrangement based on their knowledge of the world which, as they know, is inhabited primarily by intriguers, fops and fools.
Ingram teaches voice and acting in the Department of Drama. His previous produc-tions include “Henry V” (with an all female cast), “Charley’s Aunt,” “The Maid’s Tragedy,” “Our Country’s Good,” “Macbeth,” “Twelfth Night,” “Sir Patient Fancy” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Ingram is also an actor with a long career in the U.K. as well as many professional productions in this country.
Tickets are $15 for the general public and $13 for students and seniors; $7 rush tickets are available at the door, one hour before curtain. Wednesday, Feb. 11, is “Pay What You Can Night” for valid SU I.D. cardholders. For tickets and more information, contact the Department of Drama box office at (315) 443-3275 or visit http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.