Cost: $20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
A delightful romp of mistaken identities, witty banter, and larger-than-life characters!
A delightful romp of mistaken identities, witty banter, and larger-than-life characters! While Gwendolyn and Cecily both fall in love with a man named Ernest, Jack and Algernon learn the importance of being earnest.
“[T]he rare work of art that achieves perfection on its own terms.” -The New York Times
“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing.”
“Her unhappy father is, I’m glad to say, under the impression that she is attending a more than usually lengthy lecture by the University Extension Scheme on the Influence of a permanent income on Thought.”
- Lady Bracknell
The Importance of Being Earnest was produced for the first time in 1895, one hundred and twenty years ago, and for being a ‘Trivial Comedy for Serious People,’ there are some truths in the dialogue that still resonate today. Oscar Wilde must have had a ball writing this comedy of manners because it is a stinging satire on the leisure class of the Victorian Era. And it is written in such a light-hearted way that the very people Wilde was targeting could not do anything but enjoy this funhouse mirror reflection of themselves.
Cloaked in a very clever manifesto on Victorian views of marriage, the play is about so much more. Lady Bracknell’s offhanded mention of the lie she’s told her husband about Gwendolyn’s attendance at the lecture on ‘the Influence of a permanent income on Thought’ feels, to me, like the central satire here. What happens when one has just too much time on their hands? What becomes important? And why?
I went to a fancy New England prep school and I had a friend there, who, in all seriousness, would pose the question, ‘Is it more important to be sincere or clever?’ The characters in this comedy have the answer I think he always wanted to hear, but I never gave him.
- Mark Brotherton, Director
Theatre in the late Victorian era focused chiefly on presenting messages of morality through the use of specific stock characters. These archetypes would commonly struggle through the obstacles of jealous misunderstandings, mistaken identities, compromising letters, hopeless love, and betrayal of affections. With The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde transforms the norm of Victorian theatre by combining and simultaneously contradicting almost every popular archetype and theme. He cleverly uses paradoxes and inversions, interwoven with witty dialogue to both poke fun and provoke conversation about certain social and moral dilemmas: love, marriage, loyalty, wealth, sacrifice, manners, and social status.
By creating characters that are so involved and concerned about the superficial aspects of life, Wilde creates a timeless piece that has audiences of any age laughing and relating to their eccentric lifestyles.
Wilde describes his play as ‘A Trivial Comedy for Serious People’ but it can easily be argued that it is just as well a “serious comedy for trivial people.” You may decide for yourself.
Sami Cunningham & Joshua Goodridge, Dramaturgs
* UCF student. All cast members are UCF students, with the exception of Ms. Boyd.
† Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.