From February 27 through March 2, Blue Mountain College students performed The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde. Complete with cucumber sandwiches and English accents, the audiences were in for a night filled with constant humor.
First performed in 1895, the play pokes fun at the shallowness of Victorian social conventions. The story is about two young men, Algernon Moncrief (played by Joey Ellis) and Jack Worthing (played by Isaiah Battle), who refuse to take themselves or life seriously, and their adventures as they both fall in love under the pseudonym of Earnest. Their love interests are Cecily Cardew (Sharissa Smith) and Gwendoline Fairfax (Jamie Henderson). Confusion and jealousy follow when the ladies meet and realize that they are both engaged to “Ernest.”
Another difficulty arises when none of the characters can get permission to marry until Jack finds out more about his ancestry. All Jack knows is that he was found in a handbag at the train station; he has no memory of any parents or close relatives, which causes Lady Bracknell (Bridget Sweatt) to comment, “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
In the end, the arrival of the governess (Shelby Grant) and her confession –forced out of her by Lady Bracknell – reveal that Jack is actually Algernon’s brother. The problem of his ancestry out of the way, the play ends on a happy note as Lady Bracknell grants the two couples permission to live happily ever after.
An element that became a running joke throughout the play was Algernon’s love of food, especially muffins.
One of the funniest scenes occurred when Algernon and Jack were left in the garden right after a dramatic moment with Lady Bracknell. Algernon continued to eat one muffin after another, leading to an outburst from Jack: “How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.”
“Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them,” Algernon replied.
This great play highlighted the cast’s dedication and hard work. Under Mrs. Mitchell’s excellent direction, they performed well and brought many laughs to Blue Mountain’s campus.