This is a gnarly play. “Gnarly” being the lit class euphemism for sex-crazed.
I’m okay with it, though, because that’s not all what the play is about. Granted, it’s what most of the play is about, but at least it’s not all.
Most of the innuendos are tolerable and there are scenes that are genuinely funny. My favourite scene has to be when Sparkish, an oblivious pretty boy, goes to marry Alithea.
He’s following the custom of bringing the priest to the bride’s house. Alithea is surprised to find the priest is Sparkish’s friend, Frank Harcourt, since she forbade Harcourt to visit her because he is in love with her. (Also, he’s not a priest.) Sparkish is convinced that the priest is Frank’s twin brother Ned, who is conveniently a priest.
And if you think that scene is ridiculous, just wait until you hear this:
The main plot of The Country Wife is about the sexual exploits of Horner, a man who is feigning impotence so he can get it on with any young and/or married women without suspicion. By the end of the play he’s had sex with at least four women, three of whom are best friends.
There’s this crazy scene where the three friends get drunk with Horner and it’s revealed that Horner’s been sleeping with all of them…and they’re okay with it. What’s more, they ask him to keep it secret for them.
Let’s forget that they are best friends for a minute. Let’s forget that they are drunk. Let’s just focus on the fact that they are okay with sharing a friend-with-benefits.
Granted, they all have a “it already happened, what are you going to do?” attitude about the situation, which sort of seems like the mature approach. But then they start talking about preserving their honour and I lose the minuscule respect I have for them.
Plus, the play ends here, so we have no idea if they continue with this situation or if they end it in disgust, or if they make a schedule of who gets him when. (I kid, of course.)
Actually, based on their characters, it’s not totally unlikely. Horner might not like it though.
Ever read something so absolutely ridiculous? Tell me in the comments!