Langley, B.C. – Oscar Wilde's 1895 masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest is often described as “the wittiest play in the English language.” And for good reason. This wildly popular comedy, which opens the theatre season at Trinity Western University, presents a parody of the misplaced priorities of the Victorian aristocracy. The satire still hits the mark today, in a world more concerned about Global Positioning Systems than global warming.

Jack lives in the country. His imaginary brother Ernest lives in town. Algernon lives in town. His imaginary friend Bunbury lives in the country. Gwendolen falls in love with Jack, believing him to be Ernest. Cecily falls in love with Algernon, believing him to be Ernest. Mistaken identities, Victorian romance, interfering mothers, and lots of cucumber sandwiches conspire to make this play a delight from beginning to end.

“Wilde is simply a brilliant playwright,” says Angela Konrad, chair of the theatre department at Trinity Western University and director of the production. “He's just so incredibly funny. His play has it all—cleverly drawn characters, outrageous plot twists, and an ingenious use of language.”

The whimsical design for the TWU production reflects the play's upside-down world, where serious matters are treated as unimportant, and trivial things are taken seriously. “The characters are always playing games with each other to get what they want”, says Konrad. “We wanted the production to echo that sense of playfulness.”

The cast for The Importance of Being Earnest includes John Voth, (Jack), Thomas Gage (Algernon), Amanda Hart (Gwendolen), Laura Van Dyke (Cecily), Rebecca Branscom (Lady Bracknell), Jackie Faulkner (Miss Prism), Joshua McFaul (Dr. Chasuble) and Jordaan Montes (Lane and Merriman). Costume design for the production is by Jessie-award-winning Nicole Bach and lighting design is by Mike Dickinson. Hilary McPherson is the stage manager, with assistance from Tasia Gunn and Victoria Loewen.

Other productions in the Trinity Western University theatre season are Fixing Christmas; Broken Sleep: July 7, 1994; and The Taming of the Shrew. The final show, Remnants: A Fable, is a co-production with Pacific Theatre, taking place at the company's Vancouver space in May.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs Wednesday to Saturday, October 25 to 28, and November 1 to 4 at 8 p.m., with two-for-one Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. The theatre is located in Freedom Hall of the Robert N. Thompson building on the campus of TWU (7600 Glover Road in Langley). Tickets are $10 to $12, and are available through the theatre box office at 604-513-2121 extension 3872 or online through the website,

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Last Updated: 2007-10-11
Author: Erin Mussolum