Shoestring Theatre in Lake Helen is pleased to finally present Oscar Wilde’s classic play The Importance of Being Earnest. This production was originally planned for the 2020 season, but due to an uninvited and, frankly, unwanted visitor, the show was canceled for reasons of public safety.
But now, even with our uninvited guest still lingering, we are bravely mounting a second attempt at this brilliant piece of theatrical art. COVID won’t stop us this time — we hope!
The Importance of Being Earnest is the most popular of Wilde’s plays, which include A Woman of No Importance, Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Picture of Dorian Gray.
In this play, Wilde shows us an insider’s view of life in high-society London, and all the posturing and posing that was vital to keep up appearances.
On a short trip to London, Ernest (played by Ocean Daniels) visits his friend Algernon (Josh Freeman) in the hopes of running into Algernon’s cousin, Miss Gwendolen Fairfax (Andrea O’Reilly), with whom Ernest is deeply in love. Unfortunately, Gwendolen is accompanied to Algernon’s by her mother, Lady Bracknell (Pat Justin), who is not so sure Ernest is the right man for her daughter.
During their conversations about cigarette cases and life in the country, Algernon discovers that his friend is also a committed Bunburyist — that is, one who employs an alter ego so they may get out of commitments they wish to avoid.
When Algernon learns that Ernest has a young ward in the country, he makes it his duty to engage in his biggest Bunburying escapade ever — to meet Cecily (Brianna Gutierrez).
While in the country, we meet Cecily’s school teacher, Miss Prism (Andrea Finkle) and their esteemed Rev. Chasuble (David Finkle). As prim and proper as these two seem to be, they, too, have secrets of their own.
The cast is rounded out by Dave Freeman as Algernon’s butler, Lane, and Roy Hostetler as Cecily’s butler in the country, Merriman.
The show is directed by Jenny Sejansky, with costumes by Ruth Patterson, scene painting by Anne Sollien and stage management by Nancy Ballesteros.
Shoestring Theatre is at 380 S. Goodwin St. in Lake Helen.
Performances of Earnest begin Thursday, Feb. 10, and run for two weekends through Sunday, Feb. 20. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., except for the two Sunday matinees, which begin at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $17 for senior citizens, and are available at the door, through the website at www.shoestringtheatre.net or by calling the box office at 386-228-3777. Tickets for students cost $12, but can only be purchased at the box office with an ID.
See you at the theater!