Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014

Best Local Artist

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

‘Private Lives’: Scintillating piffle courtesy of Noël Coward

Photo: Dwayne Green, License: N/A

Dwayne Green

Former spouses Elyot (Wade Young) and Amanda (Anna Gangai) in 'Private Lives'

The opening of Noël Coward’s three-act Private Lives is a comic tour de force of conjugal symmetries. On adjoining terraces of a swank hotel in Deauville, two English couples each begin their honeymoon. It is the second marriage for Elyot, and his bubbly young bride Sybil cannot help but brood over her predecessor. But the more Sybil insists that Elyot compare her with his first wife, the more irritated he becomes, until the newlyweds get into an angry row. Meanwhile, Elyot’s first wife, Amanda, happens to be standing on the other terrace with her new husband, Victor. Like Sybil, Victor is curious about the spouse he replaced, but his attempts to interrogate Amanda about Elyot rankle her and lead to a bitter rift. After spying each other across the shrubbery and learning of their parallel plights, Elyot and Amanda realize that, five years after their divorce, they still love each other. The reunited exes steal off together to Paris. Exit, pursued by two unbearable new spouses, Sybil and Victor.

“We’re figures of fun,” declares Elyot, and the fun for the audience lies in the absurdity of the play’s premise and the willful silliness of its privileged characters. “Let’s be superficial and pity the poor philosophers,” says Elyot. “Let’s blow trumpets and squeakers, and enjoy the party as much as we can, like very small, quite idiotic school children. Let’s savor the delight of the moment.” Private Lives is a hedonistic invitation to make merry, to delight in the wit work of the playwright and the dexterity of the players. This is an actor’s play, and the original 1930 production featured a legendary cast–Coward himself as Elyot, Gertrude Lawrence as Amanda, Laurence Olivier as Victor and Adrianne Allen as Sybil. But the company of bickering lovers assembled by director Tim Hedgepeth–Wade Young as Elyot, Christina Casella as Sybil, Guy Schaafs as Victor and Anna Gangai as Amanda–is equal to the demands of Coward’s language as well as the plot’s brawls and clenches. Watching them hit lines and one another back and forth is as invigorating as a doubles match at Wimbledon.

The urbane Coward is not Clifford Odets or Bertolt Brecht. Though written during the Depression, Private Lives, like its characters, regards the world as merely an arena for banter. Elyot’s “eternal trivial flippancy” eventually grates on Victor, and me. The third act, lacking the sparkling invention with which the proceedings begin, sputters. But beneath the bibulous giddiness lurks a desolate vision, a closeted playwright’s cynical take on the conventions of heteronormalcy. “The woman’s job is to allure the man,” Amanda, who also emasculates her men, explains. Coward’s Elyot and Amanda can be located in the line between Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick and Albee’s Martha and George. This superb production of Private Lives is a coruscating account of love as endless warfare in which no one ever wins. Or loses.

Private Lives

8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm Sun
The Classic Theatre of San Antonio
The Blackbox Theatre at the Woodlawn
1924 Fredericksburg
(210) 589-8450
Through May 25

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus