The Importance of Being Earnest – Sept 2011

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The Importance of Being Earnest Logo

by Oscar Wilde

A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

Directed by Barry Mawer

Muritai School Theatre, Muritai Road,  Eastbourne

Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 September 7:30 pm,

Matinee Sunday 18th 4pm,

Wednesday 21st – Saturday 24th 7:30pm

Photo Gallery

Media Release

Director’s Comments

Reviews

Quick Review of a Fun Night of Theatre. Opening night Thursday, 15th from Shelley and Alan Seay:

“An opening night at the Muritai School Hall could have been risky but confidence in the director, Barry Mawer, his casting and the wonderful satirical bite of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, had us centre row of Butterfly Creek’s first night of an 8 night season. It was confidence well placed. Casting was to my mind perfect and highlighted new talents – from the youthful 15 year old Isabel Stuart who played Worthing’s Ward, Cecily to the a rare appearance of Barbara Langford – a very convincing Lady Bracknell. The balance of youth and maturity was reflected in the delivery of some very difficult but stunningly acerbic lines. Without exception all players gave youthful energy to the light frothy energy of Wilde’s best wit and clarity through a mature use of pace and rhythm. Wilde would have been well pleased that all levels of meaning were elegantly exposed.

Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe’s The Importance of Being Earnest is fun, confident and the costumes are absolutely divine. Go see.”

Adjudicator’s report for Wellington Theatre Federation 2011 competition

Cast

Programme

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Media Release

The Importance of Being Earnest – an all time audience favourite

Oscar Wilde’s most well-known and best loved play, The Importance of Being Earnest, is coming to Eastbourne audiences in September, courtesy of Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe.

First performed in 1895, Wilde called it “a trivial comedy for serious people” and it is thought by some critics to have been the funniest play ever written.

Director Barry Mawer says the play for him was a ‘must’, with so many wonderfully witty and memorable quotes that never tire.

“We did it at one of our monthly play readings earlier in the year and everyone enjoyed it so much, I just had to direct it,” he said. “It is still very funny in the 21st century and its familiarity makes it all the more endearing.”

The play is not just a “piece of fluff” however.  It quite viciously satirises the hypocrisy of Victorian manners and customs – respectability, social position, and moral rectitude – which stifled people’s real personalities and often covered for values that were quite the opposite.

Both young men in the play, Jack and Algernon, are leading double lives; Jack calling himself Ernest when he goes to town, and Algy having invented an invalid friend who conveniently falls ill whenever he wants him to.  They find out each other’s deceptions, which are further complicated by the two young women they want to marry, Gwendolen and Cecily having a strange attachment to the name of Ernest. As neither of the men legitimately have that name, they spend a lot of energy trying to rectify the situation and find themselves in a range of hilariously compromising situations.  A further impediment to the marriages is Gwendolen’s mother, the imperious and uncompromising, Lady Bracknell, who does not approve of Jack’s lack of social standing, having been abandoned as a baby.  Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism is implicated, and after a series of increasingly complicated situations all ends happily after Jack’s parentage is established, Miss Prism is forgiven much to Canon Chasuble’s delight, and three marriages appear to be inevitable.

Mawer is delighted that the cast is almost exclusively drawn from the Bays community, and all are ‘troupies’. The cast is Theo Nettleton as Algernon; Peter Hughson as Algy’s manservant, Lane; Lee Dowsett as Jack/Ernest; Barbara Langford as Lady Bracknell; Elspeth Harris as Gwendolen; Alex Cooper as Miss Prism; Issy Stewart as Cecily; Will Clanachan as Canon Chasuble; and Laurie Ward as butler Merriman.

Mawer has set the play in 1895, when it was written. He says the style of language is so much ‘of the period’, it wouldn’t work to set it in modern times as some productions have tried to do. “Anyway it’s a dream for our wonderful wardrobe mistress Carol Thompson, who bases all her costume choices on intense research into the period.”

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Director’s Comments

We have a great cast, nearly all from our local community; most pleasing for a community theatre group like us. Rehearsals are going very well; I keep having to pinch myself. It’s good to have some of our younger members stepping up into large roles. Issy Stewart is a young but assertive “Cecily”, in stark contrast to her last role as a screamer! Theo Nettleton is thoroughly enjoying the young Victorian man-about-town role of Algy. They are the young would be lovers, the slightly older lovers are being wonderfully crafted by Elspeth Harris as the very assured Gwendolen and Lee Dowsett as the slightly bewildered Jack/Earnest. Of course you’ll all be hanging out for the “…..handbag..” line of Lady Bracknell. Barb Langford will not disappoint! The old lovers are Alex Cooper as the “I think I may be on the shelf” governess Miss Prism with Will Clanachan having fun with the pompous Canon Chasuble. It will be no surprise to regulars to see Peter Hughson as Algy’s “man” Lane, but this time we’ve also Laurie Ward as Jack’s “man” in the country, both serving the full complement of cucumber sandwiches and crumpets. Given the number of those that Algy has to eat, Carol is considering having darts in his costume to be let out during the run! She of course is having a ball with the costumes. Julia also producing some amazing props (see Gwendolen’s lorgnettes). So we’re having a great time preparing this wonderful witty play for you. Since it will appeal to all age groups, we’ve included a matinee to make it more accessible to the young and those not so.

Not to be missed!

Script

We’ll be using this version of the script The Importance of Being Earnest

Photo Gallery

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You are not engaged, I will tell you when you are.

You are not engaged, I will tell you when you are.

 

 

Gwendolen & Cecily couldn't possible marry anyone not having that certain name

We couldn't possible marry anyone not having that certain name

Now if I were Miss Prism's pupil....

Now if I were Miss Prism's pupil....

The battle of the muffins!

The battle of the muffins!

If I am occasionally a little over dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.

The bag is undoubtedly mine.

The bag is undoubtedly mine.

I strongly advise you to find some parents!

I strongly advise you to find some parents!

Well I'm Jack in the country and Earnest in Town

Well I’m Jack in the country and Earnest in Town
Well German makes me quite plain I'm sure

I’m sure German makes me quite plain

the Brighton line!!
I didn't think it polite to listen sir

I didn't think it polite to listen sir

 

I have put Mr Earnest's things in teh room next to yours sir.

I have put Mr Earnest's things in the room next to yours sir.

 

Carol is in her element

Carol is in her element

 

Stage Manager Kate with the finishing touches

Stage Manager Kate with the finishing touches

 

 

Director Barry

Director Barry

 

Peter, Chris & Barry with well earned working bee lunch

Peter, Chris & Barry with well earned traditional working bee lunch

 

It will all be ready - I promise!!

It will all be ready - I promise!!

 

Julia in her element too

Julia in her element too

 

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