“If you’re anxious for to shine in the high æsthetic line as a man of culture rare,
you must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms, and plant them ev’rywhere.
You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases of your complicated state of mind,
the meaning doesn’t matter if it’s only idle chatter of a transcendental kind!”
Patience or Bunthorne's Bride
March 1 to 24, 2002
|Stage Director:||Lesley Hendrickson|
|Music Director:||Steven MIchael Utzig|
|Artistic Director:||Wendy Evans|
When W. S. Gilbert first plotted the story that would become Patience, he had in mind a tale of two rival curates. Much as Dr. Daly, of The Sorcerer, had raised a hymn to the ladies who “gazed upon me, rapt in adoration,” these rivals would contend for the attentions of a chorus of sensitive county maidens. One of these handsome young men was actually to be named (I’m not making this up) Lawn Tennison. But Gilbert, having already been troubled by charges of irreverence aimed at Dr. Daly, felt he might be wise to find new personas for his leading men. The growing notoriety of the young Oscar Wilde, as well as the public’s ongoing fascination with other flamboyant personalities in and around the Aesthetic Movement in art and poetry, suggested to Gilbert an easy and audience-pleasing target.
All of which suggests that, at the core, Patience is not about the Aesthetic Movement at all, though Gilbert obviously enjoys tweaking the pretensions of the art-for-art’s-sake set. Gilbert’s bigger target, here as elsewhere, is the fatuousness of romantic love. In art as in life, Gilbert didn’t believe in it. By his lights, any reasonably attractive and intelligent young gentleman ought to be able to make a happy life with any reasonably attractive and intelligent young lady. Aesthetic transfiguration is not something you’d want to gaze at across the breakfast table.
But we have not lost faith in romantic love. Whether it is a duty or not, we cannot say, but still would urge you to “try, try, try to love. It isn’t that difficult if you put your whole mind to it.”
Two excellent internet resources for information about Patience: