THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
A Play by Oscar Wilde
Directed by: Emily Cady
In Oscar Wilde's most famous and final play, wealthy and bored protagonists, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, court two women, Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew, pretending to be men named Ernest. Jack, who resides in the country, introduces a devious and unruly brother named Ernest who resides in the city so that he can be reckless in one place while also being arguably mature in another. Algernon pretends to have to check in on a pale and sickly fellow named Bunbury when he is introduced to responsibilities or events he does not desire to participate in. Eventually, upon hearing of Cecily Cardew, Jack’s ward, from Jack, he pretends to be Ernest as well. The show is full of dramatic, romantic proposals that are only thwarted by the womens’ claim that they must marry a man named Ernest. The comedy follows a common structure, often seen in Shakespearean comedies, of misunderstandings and mistaken identities. Set in the 1980's.
"For while “The Importance of Being Earnest” might look like an elitist comedy of manners, it is a play that oozes subtext and that mocked the original audience by revealing all that they would have held dear (class, parentage, social standing, the privilege of the patriarchy) to be malleable, purloined and, in the final analysis, arbitrary.- The Chicago Tribune