Ball State brings Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' to the stage

Topic: College of Fine Arts

January 23, 2009

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Actors Jonathan Jensen as Ernest (Jack) Worthing and Erin Neufer as Gwendolyn Fairfax in Ball State~~~s stage production of "The Importance of Being Earnest."
The wit of Oscar Wilde comes to the Ball State stage Feb. 12 with the opening performance of the classic comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest."

The Department of Theatre and Dance will present the play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-14 and 18-21 with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Feb. 15. All shows will be at University Theatre.

Described as a "trivial comedy for serious people," "The Importance of Being Earnest" is one of Wilde's best-known works and follows the adventures of two bachelors as they pursue two women who have their hearts set on marrying Earnest, no matter who he is.

Directed by Michael Daehn, assistant professor of theater education, the witty performance centers around a clever case of "manufactured" mistaken identity with a cast that features students Josh Jeffers as Algernon Moncrief, Jonathan Jensen as Ernest (Jack) Worthing, Erin Neufer as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Kate Martin as Lady Bracknell and Meg Warner as Cecily Cardew.

Daehn said the play remains relevant with viewers today, more than 100 years after it first premiered on the London stage.

"It continues to resonate with the audience because people still obsess on what makes them superior or inferior to others in the way they dress or speak, how funny or smart or clever they are, whether they are going to get the guy or the girl and how to deal with disapproving parents in the matters of romance and independence," he said. "It's a 'social' play which should speak volumes in laughter to an audience trying to figure out where they fit in."

Tickets cost $12.50 for the general public, $11.50 for faculty and staff, $9.50 for senior citizens and $6.50 for students. They are available from the University Theatre Box Office, open noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the box office at 765-285-8749 or visit www.bsu.edu/theatre for more information. Other upcoming productions include:

  • "Dance Revelations" — 7:30 p.m. March 26-28; 2:30 p.m. March 29. This show explores the timeless art of dance as it is blended with emerging media and reimagined for the 21st century.
  • "The Full Monty"  — 7:30 p.m. April 23-25, April 29-May 2; 2:30 p.m. April 26. Based on the hit 1997 film, this musical follows a cast of men who bond over one crazy idea to make money and restore their manhood by giving the city of Buffalo a show to remember.
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