Oklahoma Christian University will stage its last play of the spring with Oscar Wilde’s comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest” April 10-12.
Wilde’s final play is considered to be his masterpiece. Though written for the London stage more than 100 years ago, the comedy is one of the most-produced plays in England and the United States.
OC’s production will be directed by senior theater major Wesley Aspey, who has added his own touch to the comedy.
“Wesley’s production exhibits some of the hallmarks of the most recent successful productions seen on West End and Broadway,” said Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communication at OC. “That includes gender bending, farce and physical comedy.”
According to Associate Communication Professor Phil Reagan, Aspey was influenced by his experience on OC’s Canada Shakespeare study abroad trip.
“One of the professional productions that we saw on that trip used an actor in the role of Lady Bracknell,” Reagan said. “Wesley was intrigued at this humorous decision, and he wanted to try it in his production.”
In addition to serving as director, Aspey is also the show’s set designer.
“Wesley has been our scene shop foreman for a number of years now,” Reagan said. “He is very skilled as a set designer and builder, so he really welcomed the dual roles.”
According to Aspey, he chose the play due to his appreciation for British humor.
“I am a fan of the witty, British comedy style, and no one does it better than Oscar Wilde,” said Aspey, who is from Hudson, Colo. “The play has so many great one-liners. I hope the audience enjoys Wilde’s wit as much as I do.”
In the play, two young gentlemen living in 1890s England have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Jack Worthing has invented a brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind to visit the beautiful Gwendolyn.
Algy Montcrieff decided to take the name ‘Ernest’ when visiting Worthing's young and beautiful heiress, Cecily, at the country manor. Things start to go awry when the deceptions are discovered, which threatens to spoil the romantic pursuits.
The play is suitable for ages 10 and older. Performances begin at 8 p.m. each night in OC’s Judd Theatre.
To order tickets, call the OC Box Office at (405) 425-6310 or visit www.oc.edu/ImportanceOfBeingEarnest. Tickets are $10. Tickets for senior citizens over 60 and groups of 20 or more are $8. OC students, faculty and staff and their immediate families are free with a valid ID.