by Lorie Lewis Ham
I have been a fan of Oscar Wilde ever since seeing Gross Indecency earlier this year presented by The New Ensemble, and find myself wondering why it took me so long to discover his work. When I heard that 2nd Space was doing The Importance Of Being Earnest, a play by Oscar Wilde, I couldn’t wait to see it!
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, was first performed in 1895. It is set in Victorian London and is a farcical comedy whose major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and a satire of Victorian ways.
The two young men in the story, John Worthing (Ryan Torres) and Algernon Moncrieff (Jacob Rico), have created false alter egos for themselves that they use to get out of social obligations, and so they can behave badly without it reflecting on their own reputations. John’s is that of his younger brother Earnest, and Algernon’s is at first a sick friend–but later in the story he too pretends to be Earnest.
This deception catches up with them when the two silly young women in the story–Gwendolen (Tess Mize) and Cecily (Kayla Weber), decide they can only marry someone named Earnest. John also finds himself in a difficult position because he has no relatives or social past, which Gwendolen’s guardian, Lady Bracknell (Patricia Hoffman), finds as a suitable reason to tell them they cannot be married.
Every member of this cast did a splendid job, from the leads to the butler’s (Benjamin Geddert and Mitchell Lam Hau), who provided their own hilarious comedic bits quietly in the background without the notice of the main characters. Heather Parish plays Cecily’s governess, and Gordon Moore plays Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D., who finds himself in the middle of the absurdity of the situation the young men have gotten themselves into.
Wilde’s wit is at the center of the fun of this play and the entire cast did a perfect job of delivering it! Ryan and Jacob’s banter and interactions though were my favorite parts of the show. Director J. Daniel deserves major kudos for his casting–these young men were perfect for the roles.
I highly recommend seeing The Importance of Being Earnest–it was so much fun I wish I could go again and again! It runs through October 13 and more info can be found on their website and their KRL theatre event page.
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