“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