Oscar Wilde’s sensational wit comes to life in Macon Little Theatre’s production of the beloved comedy of manners, “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Directed by Weldon Ledbetter, Wilde’s satiric work features clever word play, double-speak, physical comedy and intellectual farce, all while making fun of the conventions of Victorian high society. The show will run Friday through May 17.
“I’ve always been a fan of Oscar Wilde. ... It’s a great, classical piece of theater/literature that still holds up as relevant and should appeal to a wide variety of audience members,” Ledbetter said. “I think that lots of people will see parallels between the social conventions of Victorian society in London and our own.”
“The Importance of Being Earnest” tells the story of John “Jack” Worthing, who invents the fictitious counterpart of “Ernest” so that he may occasionally venture out from his country home and stay with his close friend Algernon Moncrieff in London.
Complications arise when John becomes infatuated with Gwendolen Fairfax, Algernon’s cousin, who just so happens to have fallen in love with the “Ernest” persona during one of John’s London excursions.
Upon asking for Gwendolen’s hand in marriage, John’s status as a foundling is revealed to Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen’s mother. Lady Bracknell stipulates that he must bring forth at least one of his parents before she will consent to the match.
Meanwhile, upon his return home to the country, John finds that Algernon also has adopted the “Ernest” character and is using it woo Jack’s ward, the lovely Cecily Cardew.
Well-mannered misadventures and chaos ensue involving false identities and various other entanglements, but the web of trickery and deception eventually unravels in the end.
Macon Little Theatre’s production features McKinley Starks as John Worthing, Caleb Bloodworth as Algernon Moncrieff, Brooke Woodard as Gwendolen Fairfax, Rachel Chabot as Cecily Cardew and Patsy Mitchell as Lady Bracknell.
The supporting cast includes Chris Abbott as Dr. Chasuble, Nancy Himes as Mrs. Prism, Charlie Lanphier as Lane, Will Huskey as Merriman and Kevin White as a footman.
“This cast is so vastly talented and the chemistry on stage is great,” Ledbetter said. “I think that everyone has had to work really hard to reach the point at which they can stay in character and keep a straight face, and when it’s tough for talented actors, I know it will be impossible for an audience. I can’t wait for our community to see it.”
“The Importance of Being Earnest”
When: 8 p.m. May 8-9 and 13-16; 2:30 p.m. May 10 and 17
Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road
Cost: $18 adults, $15 seniors ages 60 and older, $10 students ages 5-23
Information: 478-477-3342 or 478-471-7529; www.maconlittletheatre.org