University of South Carolina

'Modern Family'

Contact: Frenche Brewer, brewer@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3691

A revival of the “swinging ‘60s” sets the stage for an imaginative retelling of Oscar Wilde’s beloved comedy classic, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oct. 5-13 at the University of South Carolina’s Longstreet Theatre.

Hot pants, go-go boots and the jukebox were all the rage back then. The production offers a little pop culture history that the all undergraduate cast will get to experience in this play set in London.

Think the Beatles and the Stones, with just a touch of Austin Powers.

Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. on Oct. 7.  There is an additional half-price late night performance at 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.   

Tickets for the production are $12 for students, $16 for USC faculty/staff, military personnel and seniors 60 and older and $18 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased by calling 803-777-2551 or at the Longstreet Theatre box office, 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. weekdays, beginning Friday, Sept. 28.

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” is a farcical comedy that follows the exploits of Jack Worthing, a socialite leading two lives.  He’s the well-respected Jack at his country estate, where he is guardian to his adoptive father’s granddaughter, Cecily. But in the city he assumes the identity of an imaginary brother, the loose and freewheeling Ernest.  

When his good friend Algernon discovers the deception, Algernon decides to get in on the action, coming to Jack’s country estate as the fictional brother. This complicates not only Jack’s designs on Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen, but Algernon’s own desire for Jack’s young ward, Cecily.  Filled with hilarious plot twists and Wilde’s acerbic wit, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is high farce at its finest.

The Importance of Being EarnestRobert Richmond, “Earnest’s” director, said that the decision to set the play in the era of Twiggy and the mod fashions of Carnaby Street helps to not only make it more relatable to modern audiences, but also to highlight Wilde’s “outlandish” writing.
 
“I think that we’re true to Oscar Wilde’s intention of lampooning society and what really silly, rich people are able to do,” Richmond said. “We were discussing how this play seems to fit modern times because it does seem to make a comment on what only the 1 percent in our society are able to afford.”
 
Wilde’s script also deals with how social rules dictate how we present our lives and the importance of seeing past the surface.  
 
“That’s true to Oscar Wilde’s play and it’s true to the way we’ve conceived the set and all of the costume designs that go with it,” Richmond said. “Even the nice guy in this play has a dual personality.  He coexists in the town and the country under two different names, and he’s the guy we root for.”

The production will feature an all-undergraduate cast, including William Vaughan as Jack Worthing; Liam MacDougall as his friend Algernon; Danielle Peterson as Gwendolen; and Emily Gonzalez as Cecily.  The cast is rounded out by actors Katie Atkinson, Katie Cole, John Floyd, Katie Foshee, Dillon Ingram, Emily Olyarchuk, Grace Ann Roberts, Rocco Thompson, Chandler Walpole and Andrea Wurzburger.
 
For more information, contact Kevin Bush, bushk@mailbox.sc.edu  or (803) 777-9353.

Posted: 09/27/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 10/05/12 @ 8:48 AM | Permalink