note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Bob Guenthner a k a The Old Grump
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
by Oscar Wilde
stage director - Judy Holmes
scenic design - Michael Bonomi
lighting - Pat Dzierzak
sound - Ed DiMarzio
properties - Holly Dixon
stage manager - Amy Judd
executive producer & artistic director - Meg Fofonoff
Algernon - Bob DeVivo
Lane - Prescott Crocker
Jack - Dan Kelly
Lady Bracknell - Sarah deLima
Gwendolyn Bracknell - Kate deLima
Miss Prism - Bettina Grey
Cecily - Ann Medaille
Chasuble - Michael Costello
Merriman - Marcella Fischer
Every so often, you can find a cast that is a perfect match for the play. Never having seen this play, I didn't know what to expect. For the first twenty minutes or so, I was just trying to figure out the plot. From that point on, I alternated smiling, giggling, and laughing out loud. Admittedly, British, dry humor, isn't everyone's cup of tea. Over the past few years, Gilbert & Sullivan, along with comedy's such as this one, has crept into my pleasure basket.
The story itself is about two sets of people finding love, Gwendolyn & Jack, Cecily & Algernon. Confusion and mixed identity's come into the story, Everything is exaggerated of course, wouldn't be much fun without that. The predictable happy ending, is not without a surprise or two.
The play is being held at the upstairs stage at Fiddlehead. This is a cozy little spot, that is just the right size for a play such as this one. The audience is right up against the stage, which is floor level, and only separated from the seats by a low brass rail. Since the stage has no depth, and only minuscule wings, the sets are not elaborate. This is not to say that they are not good, they are. Mr. Bonomi has done a remarkable job depicting first a sitting room, then a garden area, with just a few changes. This is done between acts in plain view of the audience, and seeing the transformation lent to my enjoyment.
Lane is the very efficient butler to Algernon
Algernon is a snobby young man who lives in the city.
Jack is a more down to earth person, although a wealthy one, who lives on his estate in the country.
Lady Bracknell is a typical status seeking old lady, who is greatly impressed by family name and wealth.
Gwendolyn has fallen for Jack. She is a very pretty, buxomly brunette, who is the Lady's daughter both on and off stage.
Cecily is Algernons newly found love, and Jack's ward. A slight, exceptionally lovely looking blonde.
Merriman is sort of a governess to Cecily. Stern in appearance and manner.
Chasuble is the local minister who finds Merriman quite attractive.
Miss Prism is hilarious as Jack's maid. Her shuffling walk and simple confused demeanor was very funny.
I marvel at the actors that can memorize and rattle off the long monologues that are required in this play. I can't remember where I parked my car, even if I could find the keys to it.
This is a show well worth seeing.