The Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts was full of laughter and amusement on Friday night as the audience could barely go five minutes without responding loudly and verbally to the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s opening night of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Even over a hundred years after this show was first performed, the story of Jack Worthing and his desire to escape his mundane, average high-society life, through means of deception and manipulation, is still as humorous today as it was back then.
The show, originally written by Oscar Wilde in the late 1800s, featured vibrant actors, many of whom were seniors at University of Connecticut and involved in the theatre program. The talented students portrayed lively characters and brought the already humorous script to a level of true hilarity.
“It is as entertaining as it is witty and as witty as it is sharp,” said showgoer, Matt Bader, a first-semester BFA actor, once the curtains had closed.
Each character in the show was well-portrayed and brought a level of humor into the production. Coleman Churchill, who played a servant named Lane, only had a few lines, but the way in which they were delivered and the actions that went with them often elicited long laughter from the crowd. The story itself is amusing, as it deals with deception and high society of the 1800s, but each actor’s mannerisms and tone was what brought it to a level of excellence.
One of the many treats of the show was to see Liz McCartney, who acted in the Broadway revival of “Sunday in the Park with George,” on stage as Lady Bracknell. Her character, who is meant to represent the epitome of an upper class woman with snobbish taste, stole each scene she was in with her holier-than-thou attitude.
“It is absolutely fantastic and has a surprising twist you won’t want to miss,” said Julie Musto, a third-semester UConn student.
For anyone who is familiar with “The Importance of Being Earnest,” the twist may not come as much of a surprise, but those who go in with little knowledge of the play will not be disappointed with the ending. The play is easy to follow. The romantic relationship between the main character of Jack Worthing and Lady Bracknell’s daughter, Gwendolen, is both amusing and heartwarming, and the ending will have anyone in the audience enjoying the irony of the situation all the characters are in.
By the time the show has ended, the main thing that will stick with the audience is not just the humor the show carried throughout it, but also the satirical commentary it had that can still be applied to the upper class today. Wilde was well-known for his clever ways of poking at the snobbery and conceit of the upper class, which can be seen in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” It presents the upper class as people who must make up lies in order to spice up their lives, leaving the audience understanding that people of high society may seem to have everything, but having everything often leads to boring lives, as they have nothing to look forward to. Of course, the manner in which Wilde and the actors on stage portray these characters will leave one’s stomach hurting from laughing so much.
Everyone has a chance to see the show until Oct. 15 in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. It is certainly a must-see.
Kassidy Manness is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.