@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

The Importance of Being Earnest

By Oscar Wilde, Directed by Dale Pawley

  • (L to R) Cecily Cardew (Ashley Garcia), Gwendolyn Fairfax (Jordan Kelley),UNKNOWN, John Worthing (J. Grady Easterling),UNKNOWN,Lady Bracknell (Kathi-Jane),Algernon Moncrieff (Dustin Hadfield) ,Cecily Cardew (Ashley Garcia), and Dr. Chasuble (Isac Quezada)
  • (L to R) Algernon Moncrieff (Dustin Hadfield) and Cecily Cardew (Ashley Garcia)
  • (L to R) Gwendolyn Fairfax (Jordan Kelley) and John Worthing (J. Grady Easterling)
  • (L to R) Miss Prism (McKensi Karnes)and Dr. Chasuble (Isac Quezada)
  • (L to R) Lady Bracknell (Kathi-Jane),and Cecily Cardew (Ashley Garcia)
  • (L to R) Cecily Cardew (Ashley Garcia) and Gwendolyn Fairfax (Jordan Kelley)
  • (L to R) John Worthing (J. Grady Easterling),Miss Prism (McKensi Karnes)and Dr. Chasuble (Isac Quezada)
  • (L to R) John Worthing (J. Grady Easterling) and Algernon Moncrieff (Dustin Hadfield)

Sep 28-Oct 21, 2012

FRI SEP 28, OCT 5,12| 8:00 PM
SAT SEP 29, OCT 6,11,20*| 8:00 PM
SUN OCT 7,14,21*| 2:30 PM
THU OCT 11 | 7:00 PM
* RUN EXTENDED

Description

A comedy of manners and errors focuses on Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, a pair of 20-something bachelors who both take on the same assumed identity in order to court the women they desire.

ack, a gentleman from the country, attempts to escape the drudgery of his rural existence by pretending to have a younger brother named Ernest, who lives in London and is always getting in trouble. While in London masquerading as Ernest, Jack has met and befriended Algernon, a foppish malcontent who, when bored of the city, makes trips to the country on the pretext of visiting his fictional friend Bunbury, who is sickly and needs constant care. As Ernest, Jack has also met and fallen in love with Algernon's beautiful cousin Gwendolyn, whose mother, the intimidating Lady Bracknell, disapproves of the match, especially after learning about Jack's less-than-impressive origins.

The situation becomes even more complicated when Algernon follows Jack out to his country estate and, pretending to be Ernest himself, meets and is immediately smitten with Jack's ward, the "excessively pretty" Cecily. Gwendolyn soon arrives, and sparks fly when she and Cecily begin to realize that they are both engaged to Ernest...or are they? Mistaken identities, romantic stratagems, and even the discovery of long-lost relatives all serve to propel the comedy to a conclusion that is sure to leave audiences with smiles on their faces.
Called by Wilde himself "a trivial comedy for serious people", this production features a mix of familiar and new faces for the local theatre community. Jack and Algernon are played by J. Grady Easterling and Dustin Hadfield, Gwendolyn and Cecily by Jordan Kelley and Ashley Garcia, and Lady Bracknell is portrayed by LCCT and NSTC veteran Kathi-Jane. Rounding out the cast are McKensi Karnes as Miss Prism, Isac Quezada as Dr. Chasuble; Zac Egan as Lane, and Mark Hammersmith as Merriman.

Credits

Algernon Moncrieff
Cecily Cardew
Dr. Chasuble
Gwendolyn Fairfax
John Worthing
Lady Bracknell
Lane
Merriman
Miss Prism
Director
Written By

Reviews

Young cast stars in Dale Pawley's 'Earnest' - Period costumes, ambitious sets enhance fine performances
- By Gerald M. Kane , Las Cruces Bulletin

The printed program booklet that is distributed to audience members for the Black Box Theatre's current production of Oscar Wildes' famous 1895 work, "The Importance of Being Earnest," has no indication as to where the play is set, how many acts it has or how many intermissions are in the production. While I don't believe these important omissions were intentional, their absence from the program did arouse this audience member's curiosity and may have been a blessing in disguise. Having seen innumerable productions of "The Importance of Being Earnest," even serving as stage manager in my Eastside High School's production in Paterson, N.J. more than half a century ago, I knew what to expect. Today's audiences, with their shorter attention spans, might not look favorably at the prospect of sitting through a two-and-a half- hour production in three acts with two intermissions set in Victorian England.

All in all, this is a commendable and delightful production. Director Dale Pawley keeps the pace sprightly, and the talented young actors deliver their lines clearly and effectively in carefully learned and nuanced English accents.

Peter Herman's ambitious sets are up to his usual precise standards. Watching the cast and crew change the sets between acts is a show in itself. Special kudos to the stage crew, headed by Sharon Suhr and Linda Wray, in the efficient rapid manner in which this task is accomplished.

Youth is a virtue. It is gratifying to discover new, young performers in our growing theater community. It is even more exciting and impressive to hear these young actors deliver Wilde's challenging, witty dialogue well, with spot-on English accents. The other side of the shilling is that a performer's youth can be a challenge for an actor of a certain age when asked to portray characters such as a tutor and a minister, both in their 60s when the chronologic ages of the actors is less than half of the ages of their characters. Alas, while newcomers McKensi Karnes and Isac Quezada do deliver their lines well, their age makes it challenging to willingly suspend disbelief to imagine they truly have the life experience necessary as their roles and lines define them. The other major cast members J. Grady Easterling, Dustin Hadfield, Jordan Kelley, Ashley Garcia and Kathi-Jane are all close enough in age so as not to compromise their characterizations.

Costume designer Susie Whelpley has done a fine job in her challenging work. The period costumes are just right.

On opening night, the theater was full with audience members of varying ages. Despite the length of the production, I did not see one person leave. This is the highest compliment. It is also important to mention the hearty applause, which was directed at the cast at the play's conclusion.

Save for my one minor quibble about the age of two characters, I would say that this production is well worth your support and enjoyment.

It is easy to understand why Wilde's wit and keen mind still amuse, challenge and brighten theater stages around the globe.

Seating

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