Monday, February 11, 2008

Earnestly important

The plot is simple: Love and marriage. Two gentlemen, one of them with title but no money (David Jack’s Moncrief), and the other with money but without a title (Christopher Michael Todd’s Worthing) are facing a crucial decision in their lives-getting married. Moncrief does not realize his fate yet, he is a beautiful dandy who believes that marriage is such a disaster that he would try to forget it at once if it happened to him, as “three is company, and two is none”. David Jack presents a man who say “my duty as a gentleman has never interfered in my pleasure.” Still at the end, he commits the most popular mistake; he falls in love and eagerly decides to get married.

But this simple plot is just an occasion for Oscar Wilde to create a cynical social satire against marriage, the hypocrisy of the English upper class, and against optimism. It is also a glorious hymn for hedonism. Many believe that The Importance of Being Earnest is the most sparkling comedy in Oscar Wilde’s repertories, and it is difficult not to agree.

Humor cynism, and the addressed issues, along with Oscar Wilde’s witty remarks, is what make the play a live issue, more than a century after the author’s death in 1900. The cast also probably helps to enjoy the show. A brilliant Cristiane Young’s Lady Bracknell, an English Victorian matron stating bluntly, “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

In this play we have all what we need for a stage success: drama- Miss Prism loosing lord’s child in the dark past, romance, humor, and words of harsh criticism to family and society at large. It is no wonder that the director Judith Jarosz decided to work with the script. And she does it well, although, to be honest, not breathtakingly. Recommended but not a must.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, by Oscar Wilde; directed by Judith Jarosz; set design, David Fuller; lightening design, Hajera Dehqanzada; costume design, Lydia Gladstone; technical director, Aaron Diehl; stage manager, Lauren Arneson; Presented by the Theatre Ten Ten, at 1010 Park Avenue.

Algernon Moncrief…David Jacks

Lane…David Fuller

Jon Worthing, J.P. …Christoper Michael Todd

Lady Bracknell…Cristiane Young

Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax…Vanessa Morosco

Miss Prism…Talaura Harms

Cecily Cardew…Sheila Joon

Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D. …Greg Horton

Merriman…David Fuller

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