Olivier Award Winning company Good Night Out Presents will stage the world premiere of the only unproduced Oscar Wilde play this September at their Islington home, the King’s Head Theatre. According to an article in the Independent the 107-seat King’s Head Theatre above a pub in north London is seeing actors normally more accustomed to treading the boards at the National Theatre vying to appear in this new production.
After his release from prison in 1897, Oscar Wilde immediately began writing a new play, CONSTANCE. Wilde 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.
Henri 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.
CONSTANCE was unearthed by Wilde enthusiast and writer, Charles Osborne, many years later. Osborne has translated the play back into English, recreating for the world a genuine, brand new, Oscar Wilde 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 the industrialist 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.