This play is being made into a movie that will be released later on this year. Sean Bean will star in it as Lord Illingworth. I must say it is the typical Sean Bean role.
Hester Worsley is an American heiress paying a visit to her friend Lady Caroline. There are various members of the English gentry present. Hester of course stands out. She doesn’t share the English love of frivolity. Much like Lady Windermere, she is a hyper moral.
The play opens with Gerald Artbuthnot a man with no title being hired as the secretary to Lord Ilingworth, who is as highly respected as he is immoral. Everyone rejoices in the appointment expect for Gerald mother, Mrs. Artbuthnot. As it turns out Mrs. Artbuthnot and Lord Illingworth have a past unknown association. One of the ladies asks Mrs. Arbuthnot to join them that evening; initially, Arbuthnot declines. When Lord Illingworth sees her response, he thinks the writing is quite familiar. When queried as to the name of the woman, he replies, “A woman of no importance.”
Of course the two meet at the dinner party. The fur flies naturally. I won’t tell you the specific ending.
This play ends quite similarly to Lady Windermere’s Fan, in that the female lead has a change of heart regarding morals. Not that they believe morals are unnecessary rather they have a more forgiving spirit. Also like Lady Windermere both mothers are “fallen women.” This motif is repeated in a number of Wilde plays. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as the man was a consummate reprobate.