A Noise Within's The Importance of Being Earnest

Sep 10, 2014
The Importance of Being Earnest

A Noise Within (ANW), the acclaimed classical repertory theatre company, continues its 2014-2015 REVOLUTIONary season with The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, which opens on Saturday, September 27 and runs through Saturday, November 22, 2014. Directed by five-time L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award-winner Michael Michetti, this is the second production of The Importance of Being Earnest for A Noise Within, which mounted the play originally in their 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons.

Single ticket prices for The Importance of Being Earnest start at $40. Contact the A Noise Within box office in person, via phone at 626-356-3100, or online at www.ANoiseWithin.org for updated pricing and seat availability. "I first read Earnest when I was in college, then binge-read all of Wilde's plays and many of his stories," says director Michael Michetti. "I was immediately taken with the author's incredible wit and the cleverness of his plotting. Earnest is a perfectly crafted play, one that first draws us in with its witty dialogue, then knocks us over with its impeccable comic structure." He concludes, "The Importance of Being Earnest is a jewel of a play - witty and clever, smart and subversive, and a delicious little parfait for an autumn day." The Importance of Being Earnest (subtitle: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People) is a play by Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make it Wilde's most enduringly popular play. First performed in February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, this classic satire features a protagonist (John/Jack Worthing, alternately known as Ernest) whose alias allows him to escape burdensome social obligations. The play masterfully embraces several compelling themes: the Victorians' exaltation of maintaining appearances at all costs; the secret lives necessitated by the rigidity of these social conventions; and the aristocracy's devotion to the perpetuation of class structures. The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most-produced plays in the English language and has been adapted for the cinema on three occasions-most famously in the 1952 film, in which Dame Edith Evans reprised her celebrated interpretation of Lady Bracknell. The play's successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but-ironically-heralded his downfall. The Marquess of Queensberry, whose son was Wilde's lover, planned to present Wilde with a bouquet of rotten vegetables and disrupt the show, a scene only averted when he was refused admission to the theatre. Soon afterwards their feud came to a climax in one of the most famous court scenes in history, when Wilde's homosexual double life was revealed to the Victorian public and he was sentenced to prison. This caused the play, despite its resounding early success, to close early. After his release, he published it from exile in Paris, but wrote no further comic or dramatic work. The cast features Christopher Salazar* as John Worthing, J.P., Adam Haas Hunter* as Algernon Moncrieff, Alberto Isaac* as Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D., Apollo Dukakis* as Merriman/Lane, Jean Gilpin* as Lady Bracknell, Carolyn Ratteray* as Hon. Gwendolyn Fairfax, Marisa Duchowny* as Cecily Cardew, and Jill Hill* as Miss Prism. * Denotes member of Actors' Equity Director Michael Michetti's rich resume includes several productions at A Noise Within, where he has directed The Guardsman, The Grapes of Wrath, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, Don Juan, and As You Like It. With other theatres, he is Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @Boston Court in Pasadena, where he directed Stupid F**king Bird, American Misfit; Creation; The Dinosaur Within; The Twentieth-Century Way; God Save Gertrude; 1001; Dark Play or Stories for Boys; Paradise Lost: Shadows & Wings; his own adaptation of Oscar Wilde's A Picture of Dorian Gray; Pera Palas; Summertime; and Romeo and Juliet. Elsewhere, he directed A Life in the Theatre starring Hal Holbrook, at The Pasadena Playhouse; Kiss Me, Kate (Ovation Award, Best Musical), Carousel, Man of La Mancha and Li'l Abner, with Reprise Theatre Company; Noises Off, at PlayMakers; House of the Rising Son, at EST-LA; Ouroboros, at Road Theatre; Brecht's Edward II and Aphra Behn's The Rover, at Circle X; plus productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titanic, and Sweeney Todd. Mr. Michetti is the recipient of two Ovation Awards and five L.A. Drama Critics Circle awards for his work. Scenic designs by Jeanine Ringer, costumes by Garry Lennon, lighting designs by Adam Frank, wigs and make-up by Monica Sabedra, and original compositions and sound design by designer Bruno Louchouarn; all contribute to this newly imagined production. This engagement of The Importance of Being Earnest includes a symposium on Sept 24 at 7:30 PM (symposium starts at 6:00pm, play at 7:30pm) by a noted scholar, who will discuss the play prior to that evening's performance. There will also be post-performance conversations with the artists of The Importance of Being Earnest on Oct 5 at 2 PM, Nov 14 at 8PM and Nov 21 at 8 PM. A Pay What You Can performance takes place on Thursday, Sept 25 at 7:30 PM.