ex news 

Text of article from the Pioneer Press newspaper group
April 18, 2008  

Company stages rarely done Oscar Wilde play

Scandal touches a young married couple in Oscar Wilde's comedy/drama, "Lady Windermere's Fan," opening Friday, April 18, in a Vex Theatre Company production at Elgin Art Showcase.

"It's such a well-written, witty play," said director Rich Geiger of Palatine, Vex's artistic director. "The scenes flow into each other so well. It's a real pleasure to play with."


Although the play was first produced in 1892, "The lines are still funny and the characters still make sense," Geiger said.

The story revolves around Lady Windermere's belief that her husband might be having an affair. When Lady Windermere confronts him, her husband's reaction angers her so much that she retaliates. Can this marriage be saved?

Elodie Senetra of Palatine plays Lady Windermere -- much to her own surprise. "I got an e-mail about 'Lady Windermere,' but on the audition requirements it said that no one under 18 could audition, and I'm still 17," said the Fremd High School senior. "But Madeline Franklin, who is another cast member, recommended me for the part as did another director that Rich (Geiger) knew."

Because she didn't think she had a chance to get the role due to her age, it was a "no pressure audition," Senetra said. During a 20-minute tryout, the actor did a monologue and read a scene from the play. When she received a call the next day offering her the part, Senetra said she was "shocked."

Geiger noted that prior to casting Senetra in the title role he saw her in a production of "Today I Am a Fountain Pen," by Palatine's Theatre Nebula, when he was running lights for that company. "I thought, 'Wow, she's a very talented actress,'" Geiger recalled. When Senetra auditioned for the show, the director said, "She was far and away the best."

"She's a little bit naive," Senetra said of her character, Lady Windermere. "She hasn't really experienced too much of the world. She's very interested in society and being social. She is very polite and she loves her husband very much."

Anger management

Despite her love for her spouse, Lady Windermere does get upset with him at times. However, her attempts at insulting him often fall flat. "She doesn't really know how some of the things that she says come out so silly," Senetra said. "When she gets upset, she's sort of like a hurt little puppy. She tries to build up her anger but she just doesn't know how. She gets frustrated when people don't take her seriously."

Geiger, co-founder of 3-year-old Vex Theatre Company with executive director Cathleen Ann, said that "Lady Windermere's Fan" was always at the top of the list for their theater company. "It doesn't get done a lot," he explained. "A lot of theater companies go with 'The Importance of Being Earnest.' I like 'Earnest' a lot but we chose this play because it has deeper emotions and more developed characters.