The MC theatre department will be opening the season with Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” showing on Oct. 4, 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. and on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Haslam Family Flexible Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts.
“It’s so exciting to be able to start off the year with a play by Oscar Wilde,” said Sara Deatherage, a theatre major. The play will be starring freshman Chase Condrone as Jack Worthing, sophomore Sara Deatherage as Gwendolen Fairfax, junior Caitlin Campbell as Cecily Cardew and senior Walker Harrison as Algernon Moncrieff, accompanied by several other minor cast members.
“The diversity of age and talent in our cast really helps to bring the story to life,” Deatherage said. Oscar Wilde’s classic drama centers on a confused love story between characters that are not who they are expected to be. The unexpected results of these untruths become what make the play a humorous commentary on British Victorian life. Characters experience heartbreak, confusion, elatedness and surprise, all within the framework of three acts.
“I chose the play as a challenge both to myself to the actors,” McMahon said. “I wanted to push myself as a director to see if I can convey what I see in this 19th century play to a 21st century audience.”
With action that is heavily reliant on dialogue, actors are forced to tap into the personal backgrounds of their characters and the hidden meanings of their words. According to theatre major Chase Condrone, the historical context of the play was a welcomed challenge.
“The entire culture down to the diction and mannerisms is vastly different from what we’re used to, and it is extremely fun getting into the roles and studying the period,” Condrone said. With its Victorian rra content and British setting, audiences can be prepared for a different sort of play than last year’s production of “The Laramie Project,” which took place in modern America.
“Though the play is set in 1895, it still resonates as a spoof of ‘polite’ society, a comedy of manners that points out the foibles and preposterousness of the upper classes,” McMahon said. Audiences can also expect to be presented with a cast fully at ease with each other and the play itself.
“The cast is working hard on character development and understanding the relationships in the show,” Condrone said. “And the crew is doing an excellent job bringing together the technical aspects of the show from lights and sound to costuming, set, and props. This is truly a show for anyone to enjoy, and I strongly encourage everyone to come out and enjoy it.”