Richard Brinsley Sheridan's "The School for Scandal" is a rollicking British social farce. It was first produced in 1777, but is as relevant today as it was 200 years ago. This is mainly the story of Sir Oliver Surface and his two ne'er do well nephews Joseph and Charles Surface. We also have the side story of Sir Peter Teazle and his much younger and lively wife, Lady Teazle, and his ward Maria woven into the fabric. The notorious group of gossips, Lady Sneerwell, Mrs. Candour, Backbite, Crabtree, and Snake, who rattles as he slinks along.
Sir Oliver has lived in India for years. He has supported, but not met for years, his two nephews. Michael Elich's Charles is a drunken, woman chasing reveller. He has squandered most of the family fortune and artifacts when Sir Oliver returns, and is introduced as Premium, the money lender, and also the destitute long lost relative Stanley. He's appalled at Charles' excesses, and when Charles tries to borrow money at exorbitant interest, Premium demands security. Charles tells of his wealthy uncle, whose estate he will inherit as soon as he dies, which can't be long. Sir Oliver/Premium is not impressed to say the least. Charles decides to sell the entire family portrait gallery, which Premium buys. There's one final painting of Uncle Oliver as a young man. Charles refuses to sell that one for any amount, and he is offered a lot, to his Uncle's great delight. He reckons 550 lbs. from the sale and sends 100 lbs. to Stanley.
Meanwhile Sir Peter is having a devil of a time with Lady Teazle. They're having frightful arguments, and it's all because she doesn't realize that he's always right. It's all over town that she's having an affair with Charles. She seeks Joseph Surface's advice, and he says that "Since your husband believes you to be untrue, it's your duty to do it." She comes to the realization that she needs to part with her virtue to save her reputation. She and Joseph are the item, though, and not Charles. We have the outrageous scene with her behind the screen in Joseph's room, with Sir Peter, who suspects Charles, and is questioning Joseph about it when Charles arrives. Sir Peter hides in the closet while Joseph interrogates him. The situation is resolved to everyone's delight except Joseph, who shows his true colors for all to see, and the gossips. Snake finally confirms what everyone suspects, but all are sworn to not tell that he did right, because, after all, he does have his reputation to uphold in the outrageous production of Sheridan's "The School for Scandal" in The Angus Bowmer Theater at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It runs through November 1, along with "Uncle Vanya," and "A Touch of the Poet."
Oregon Shakespeare Festival 98
Henry IV Pt.1
| Comedy of Errors
| Measure for Measure
| Touch of the Poet
| Sailing to Byzantium
Midsummer Night's Dream | School for Scandal | Uncle Vanya | OSF Commentary