SBCC’s Department of Theater Arts performs an Oscar Wilde classic – The Channels



Channel Arts Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW

With the music playing and the decor, the audience buzzed with excitement and anticipation as they waited for the imaginary curtains to open to “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Written by Oscar Wilde, the story follows two young bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing (Ben Watkins) and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff (August Woolf Muller), as they lead a double life posing as Ernest Worthing in order to to win the woman they love.

The theater group chose to put their own spin on the production and decided to have it set in the 1960s, but still clung to the social stigma of behaving outside of societal norms.

The small, intimate setting of the Jurkowitz Theater gave way to an abrupt start when some of the actors rushed onto the stage and started dancing. However, they managed to capture the audience’s immediate attention in an entertaining way.

The first act introduces you to the life of Moncrieff and Worthing. Algy, as they so fondly call him, is a pretentious hobby-class man who is obsessed with food and thinks family is trivial. Jack, also known as Ernest, is quite the opposite, he is a serious man who sees the importance of family and finding love.

Both actors deliver every line in a way that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more.

As the story progresses we learn about other characters such as Miss Prism (Mary Wessely), Cecily Cardew (Grace Wilson), Reverend Canon Chasuble (Alfred Smith), Gwendolen Fairfax (Sydney Davidson) and Lady Bracknell (Lexie Brent).

All of these characters play a key role in uncovering the lies and deception in which the two bachelors participated.

Luke Hamilton who played Merriman the butler and Matt Addeman who played Lane the pessimistic servant did a great job playing what could have been a very simple role and turned into a comical helper with funny facial expressions and gestures.

Between stage changes, the stage crew, along with Hamilton and Addeman, would entertain and engage the audience by dancing while moving around the props.

While the play may glorify the lie, there’s no shortage of entertainment, from the hilarious commentary on disconnected and frivolous high society people, to the witty one-liners on the banality of family and the tortures that come with marriage.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will run through November 19 at the Jurkowitz Theater.

Due to the layout of theafter, no late placement is permitted. Tickets can be purchased on line or at the box office.

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