By Maithri Nimmagadda
As I watched North’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, I was quite simply blown away and for good reason.
According to James Topham’s review of the play, “The Importance of Being Earnest combines a labyrinthine plot…and some of the most comic and wittiest lines ever written.”
The play, written by Oscar Wilde, is a brilliant, funny satire with a strong message of how frivolous the rich of the Victorian society are. The play’s main characters are John (Jack) Worthing, Algernon “Algy” Moncrieff, Gwendolen Fairfax, and Cecily Cardew. The play opens up with Jack and Algernon, and the scene reveals that Jack comes to socialize on the pretext that he is visiting his scandalous “brother” Earnest. He then uses the name Earnest as his when he’s in the city.
The viewers also learn that both Jack and Algernon are rich (hence the mockery of Victorian society), which helps Algernon afford all the cucumber sandwiches he consumes. The two also talk about Jack’s fancying of Gwendolen, who turns out to be Algy’s cousin and who is only willing to marry Jack because she thinks his name is Earnest. Algernon soon learns that Jack is a guardian to a girl named Cecil Cardew back in the city; he is intrigued by this girl and goes to the country posing as Earnest and from this a twisting plot continues.
The cast of the play was talented, and acted so that the messages and morals of The Importance of Being Earnest were preserved, but still kept a light, witty, funny, and quick-paced air that left the audience to roll in laughter.
The stage and props were professional and brought true life to the play with built wooden structures, high details like curtains, and real food like cucumber sandwiches. A clear effort was shown to show changes in scenery and made me feel as if I were standing and watching the story in real life. The outfits were historically accurate and were occasionally so grand (ahem, ahem Gwendolen’s dress) that they brought more life and humor to the play. Thus, not only was the choice of play intriguing, capturing, and witty, but also the effort put in by Sock ‘n’ Buskin made the viewing of The Importance of Being Earnest memorable.