The importance of being earnest

by oscar wilde

May 4 to March 27

1st Preview: Thursday, May 3 at 7:30

Opening Night Friday, May 4 at 7:30pm

 

“We live in an age of ideals” – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce continues to delight audience more than a century after its premiere at the St. James Theatre in 1895. Like Wilde, the play is the embodiment of British dandyism.A flamboyant comedy of manners full of mistaken identities, secret engagements, and non-existent lovers, The Importance of Being Earnest is celebrated for its scintillating dialogue and witty repartee.  

Earnest combines a labyrinthine of a plot and the most eccentric witty characters ever written, including the infamous Lady Bracknell.  

The play is based on two young men, Jack Worthing, an upright citizen, and his friend Algernon Moncrieff, a witty lustful chap. In order to escape his conservative lifestyle, Jack creates an alter-ego, Ernest, which allows him to escape his boring life and be a man about town with Algernon.

In order to woo Jack’s ward Cecily Cardew, Algernon turns up at his friend’s estate pretending to be Ernest, but Jack is courting Lady Bracknell’s daughter Gwendolen Fairfax also under the name. When the ladies arrive to fight for Ernest’s attention and the “Ernest’s” to claim their ladies affection, only a senile maid and an old handbag can save the day.

From the play’s effervescent beginnings in Algernon’s flat to its hilarious denouement in Jack’s estate, this comedic masterpiece keeps audiences titillated from start to finish.

“Brilliant, inventive, witty and–when performed–absolutely hilarious, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, is a landmark in the history of Western theater, and probably that writer’s greatest achievement.” –Thoughtco.com

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency” with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain, and died in poverty.

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