After Wilde's release from prison in 1897, he immediately began writing a new play Constance, and sold what he claimed were "exclusive rights" to a number of theatrical agents, publishers, actors and managers, eventually handing over his handwritten manuscript to an American actress, Mrs. Cora Brown Potter. On her death in the 1930s the manuscript passed onto the French writer Guillot de Saix, who with a colleague Henri de Briel, put together a French translation. de Briel was suspected of being a collaborator with the Germans during World War II, and Wilde's original English manuscript is thought to have been destroyed by members of the resistance movement when they caught up with him. However, a copy of the French translation survived in Guillot de Saix's possession, and in due course was published in a French literary magazine. It was subsequently unearthed by former theatre critic Charles Osborne, who has translated the play back into English, re-creating a brand new Oscar Wilde play. In the play, William Daventry, a rich industrialist and self-made man, is married to Constance, the perfect wife: loyal, faithful, and with excellent family credentials. At the Daventry's country house, various members of Constance’s extended family, a zealous man of the cloth and his flirtatious wife are assembled for an evening of entertainment – such as is affordable only by the middle classes, a fact deplored by the Duchess of Sandgate and her companion, Sir Richard. An incident between the Reverend’s wife and Daventry sets in motion a train of events that risk upsetting the moral code of this aristocratic family, driving them from Twickenham to London to the Tyrolean Alps.
The play will be directed by Marc Urquhart and produced by Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Dominic Haddock for Good Night Out Presents.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7478 0160, or visit www.kingsheadtheatre.com.