SBCC’s Department of Theater Arts presents THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde next month



CCSC’s Department of Theater Arts will present a student production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde, directed by Katie Laris, November 9-19, 2022 at the Jurkowitz Theater.

Although written in 1895, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest remains one of the funniest and most engaging comedies ever written. The play tells the story of three couples who all attempt to unlock the secret of their beloved’s heart, even if it may involve a bit of deception, quite a bit of flattery, and a ton of the wittiest dialogue ever written. The play is filled with unforgettable characters, delightfully twisted plots, and exceptional wit, all of which have made this play an everlasting hit on stages around the world; it remains as relevant and fun today as when it was first played.

Oscar Wilde, (born October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland – died November 30, 1900 in Paris, France), Irish poet and playwright. The son of a prominent surgeon, Wilde attended Trinity College, Dublin and later Oxford University, becoming widely known for his wit while still a student. A spokesperson for aesthetics, in the early 1880s he gave a lecture tour in the United States and established himself in London circles with his wit and flamboyance. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), combines Gothic elements with a mockery of bourgeois morality. His macabre piece Salomé (1893) was later adapted as a libretto to Richard Strauss’ opera; his other plays, all hits, include Lady Windermere’s Fan (1893), A Woman of No Importance (1893) and An Ideal Husband (1895). His most important work is the comedy The Importance of Being Earnest (1899), a satire on Victorian social hypocrisy. Two critical dialogues, “The Decay of Lying” and “The Critic as Artist”, are admired as equally brilliant. Although happily married, in 1891 he began an intimate relationship with the young Lord Alfred Douglas, son of the Marquess of Queensberry. Accused by Queensberry of being a sodomite, Wilde sued for libel and lost, then was arrested for sodomy and convicted in a trial that became internationally notorious. Imprisoned in Reading Gaol (1895-1897), he wrote a letter of recrimination to his lover which was edited and published as De Profundis (1905). After his release, he moved to Paris; his only subsequent work was The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), about inhuman prison conditions. He died suddenly of acute meningitis

The Importance of Being Earnest will feature our talented students: Matt Addeman, Lexie Brent, Sydney Davidson, Luke Hamilton, Augustus Woolf Muller, Alfred Smith, Ben Watkins, Mary Wessely and Grace Wilson.

KATIE LARIS (Director) is Co-Chair, Director and Associate Professor of Theater in the Department of Theater Arts at SBCC. Recent productions include Something Rotten!, Murder on the Orient Express, Ripcord, Here We Go Again, The Thin Man, Looking Back, Looking Forward, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Sense and Sensibility, Significant Other, The Game’s Afoot, Grease, Communicating Doors, It’s a Wonderful Life, Rabbit Hole, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Dead Man’s Cell Phone. Katie has a BA in Theater/Literature from Reed College and an MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University.

PATRICIA L. FRANK (Scenic & Lighting Designer) is Co-Chair and Director of Design and Technology for the Department of Theater Arts. She is continuing her 37th year at the SBCC as scenic/lighting designer for Something Rotten. Pat has designed countless shows at SBCC and is very happy to be back to design this production as it is one of her favorites. Pat earned an MFA from UND and an MFA from UCSB.

Pamela Shaw (Costume Designer) is Resident Costume Designer for The Theater Group at SBCC, having recently designed Something Rotten!, Murder on the Orient Express, Ripcord, The Thin Man, Looking Back, Looking Forward, Sense & Sensibility, How to Succeed in Business Without really trying, The Game’s Afoot, Grease, One Man, Two Guvnors and Significant Other among many other productions. Ms. Shaw has been costume designer for The Forbidden Planet, Fuddy Meers and South Pacific at the Rubicon Theatre, The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence and the premiere of San Patricios at PCPA, the off-Broadway show Lonesome Traveler, costume assistant for Sensations TV Vampire Diaries. She is the 2017-2023 President of the Western Region Board of United Scenic Artists, Local 829.

BARBARA HIRSCH (Sound Designer) owns Opus 1 mobile recording and is grateful for the rich music and theater scene in Santa Barbara. Over the decades, she has composed for the theatre, played in the pit, with sound. It was satisfying to win a Dramalogue Sound Design award for SBCLO’s Singin’ in the Rain, a show whose rain on stage helped end a year-long drought. More recently, Ensemble Theater Company productions of Amadeus and Christmas at Pemberly – Parts I and II have featured his sound design. For years she happily worked with Katie Laris on many wonderful college productions including Murder on the Orient Express, Ripcord, Curious Incident, Significant Other and It’s a Wonderful Life. In another area, she owns the wonderful Santa Barbara Yoga Center.

Performances will take place from November 9 to 19, 2022 in the intimate Jurkowitz Theatre. From Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30 p.m., Sunday November 13 and Saturday November 19 at 2 p.m. The performance on Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m. will be live captioned for the hearing impaired. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 805-965-5935. The Jurkowitz Theater is located on the Santa Barbara City College West Campus in the 900 block of Cliff Dr. Parking is free and close to the theater. Due to the intimate nature of the Jurkowitz Theatre, NO LATE SEATING is permitted.

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