The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde

Performed
June 9-12 June 15-19, 2004
at
The Boal Barn Playhouse

Production Staff

DirectorNorrine Sims
Scenic DesignerAnne Thompson
Costume DesignerLaura Lee Hanchar
Technical DirectorAlexa Krepps
Lighting DesignerMatt Clark
Stage ManagerLaura Shannon
Apprentice CoordinatorWilliam C. Mulberger

About the Show

The most brilliant theatrical production of I have seen was John Gielgud’s 1947 The Importance of Being Earnest with Gielgud directing and playing Jack Worthing, Robert Flemyng as Algy, Pamela Brown as Gwendolen, Margaret Rutherford as Lady Bracknell, and Jean Cadell as Miss Prism. I still remember Gielgud as he entered from stage rear in Act Two, “dressed in deepest mourning, with crepe hatband and black gloves”, and meticulously and slowly removed the gloves. That little bit is my definition of style. Of course the play is worthy of that production. Earnest is one of the most brilliant of English comedies. Jack and Gwendolen rank with Shakespeare’s Benedict and Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing) and Congreve’s Mirabell and Millamant (The Way of the World). Lady Bracknell is a great comic
creation right up there with Chaucer’s the Wife of Bath and Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop (The Rivals).

Earnest was the last of Wilde’s plays, preceded by An Ideal Husband, A Woman of No Importance, and Lady Windermere’s Fan. These three plays still sparkle with epigrammatic wit, but are also burdened by melodrama and Victorian social criticism. They are very much “problem” plays. Earnest rises above them. It is complete farcical nonsense, all glittering surface. No moral, no message, no meaning, and very little plot. It is all manner, all wit. The characters are not real people – if they were they would be insufferable-speaking realistic dialogue. But they are very much alive.

Gielgud wrote that Earnest has “to be played very strictly; it is like chamber music …. you must play it with your tongue in your cheek, like a solemn chorale.” Wilde himself got to the nub of the play when he wrote “that we should treat all trivial things very seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.”

Richard Gidez for SCCT

(in order of appearance)
Algernon MoncreiffRobert Hackman
Lane, a manservantLam Hood
John Worthing, J.P.Shaun T. McMurtrie
Lady BracknellSusie Kleinert
Hon. Gwendolen FairfaxMiranda Libkin
Cecily CardewAlexa Krepps
Miss Prism, a governessBonny Farmer
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.Paul Homan
Merriman, a butlerVic Russo