Director John Fitzgerald is creating a black box experience by constructing a simple set, arranging seating on three sides, curtaining in the stage, and inviting audience members inside for a more intimate experience watching the show.
Fitzgerald says audience members will feel like they are part of the show because they will be so close to the action. Adjustments to the script occasionally have to made as a result. For example, Gwendolyn has a line about how blue Earnest’s eyes are, which has been changed because the audience will be close enough to see that his eyes are brown.
Close quarters onstage, a Victorian time period, and lots of realistic moments throughout the show mean the cast will have to go above and beyond to suspend disbelief for the audience. Fitzgerald says, “The cast is working incredibly hard to make every moment on stage shine. I am honored to collaborate with amazingly talented artists who are pouring so much energy, creativity, and life into their roles.”
As for the show itself, The Importance Of Being Earnest is a farcical comedy that pokes fun at the upper class British of late Victorian London. The subtitle of the play by Oscar Wilde is A Trivial Comedy For Serious People. Audiences will enjoy the silly, witty banter of men trying to get away with double lives and the women who won’t let them. Duplicity is made hilarious as the female characters try to reconcile their fantasies of the perfect man with the very real and imperfect men they think they admire.
This is a compact show with a cast of nine performers. Jack Worthing (also known as Earnest) will be played by junior Nate Rasmussen. Gwendolyn Fairfax will be played sophomore Samantha Katz. Algernon Moncrieff will be played by senior Chance Hansen. Cecily Cardew will be played by sophomore Averyl Hartje. Lady Bracknell will be played by senior Callie Sahli. Dr. Chasuble will be played by sophomore Kameron Koslowski. Miss Prism will be played by junior Peyton Butler. Butlers Merriman and Lane will be played by Casey Young and Ari Lauthner respectively.
In 1895, Wilde made fun of upper class society and invited them to laugh at themselves in spite of themselves. In an age when we can take opinions too seriously and imagine that online flame wars are the most important things in the world, The Importance Of Being Earnest still reminds us of the folly of being human and encourages us to find humor in our everyday absurdities.
The show boasts a unique set design by WVHS’s longtime set designer Kevin Cameron and lush costumes arranged by former Thespian Kelly McMichael. McMichael has fond memories of participating in this show when she was in college.
The Importance Of Being Earnest runs February 22nd – 24th and March 1st – 3rd at 7pm in the Wilsonville High School Auditorium. Tickets are available online at www.wildcatdrama.com. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students. The show is recommended for ages twelve and up.