While many think of Oscar Wilde’s classic society comedy Lady Windermere’s Fan as being wedded (pun not intended) to the social structures and mores of its 1892 setting, one local theatre group and its iconoclastic director are turning that on its head, by setting it in the late 1890s.
Dwight Hedley of Cremorne has spent years doing the classics with the Mosman Repertory Theatre, but he says he’s moved beyond strict recreations of the original setting.
“Issues of love, betrayal, and idiosyncratic lace accessories are truly timeless, and we’ve decided to show that by bringing it a bit more up to date.”
Costume and design supervisor Reneé Hedley says it required a rethink of the whole aesthetic.
“We didn’t want to trot out the same bustles and frock coats you’d expect in any old production of [Lady Windermere’s] Fan. It has to really look fresh and modern, and true to the era.”
Budget pressures closer to the show’s opening mean the society was forced to reuse a number of outfits from last summer’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, set in 1895.