"Importance of Being Earnest" on Stage in February

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts and the Masquers theatre group will present “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde’s most popular play, in February in Wallman Hall.

First performed in 1895, the farcical comedy is also a satire on Victorian customs and behaviors. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19; Saturday, Feb. 20; Thursday, Feb. 25; Friday, Feb. 26; and Saturday, Feb. 27. The matinee performance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. For tickets, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240.

Jack Worthing (played by Gary Hayes) has two lives to live--life as Earnest Worthing in the city and as Jack in the country. In the city Jack meets with his friend Algernon Moncrieff (Stephen Phillips) and over time falls in love with Algernon’s cousin Gwendolyn Fairfax (Shannon Yost), but she knows him as Earnest. In the country Jack is the guardian of Cecily Cardew (Ann Marie Witkowski), but Cecily believes Earnest is Jack’s brother whom she loves. Algernon discovers Jack’s secret and goes to the country to meet Cecily, but Algernon goes by Earnest. When the women discover the lies the men created, they put their proposals on hold, because the name Earnest is what caused them to fall in love. After finding the truth about Jack’s real parents, he then finds his real name is Earnest after all.

Also in the cast, Tyler Kovar plays Lady Bracknell; Samantha Young plays Miss Prism; David Kirk plays Dr. Chasuble; Audrey Moore plays Lane; and Kira Guier plays Merriman.  

The show is the senior project for FSU student Stephen Phillips, the son of Tammy and Carl Phillips, of Romney, formerly of Fairmont. The actor also has appeared on stage as Brom in “Sleepy Hollow,” Jim Hickam in “Rocket Boys,” George Bailey in a readers’ theatre of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Gary Lefkowitz in “I Hate Hamlet.”

“The style of the language is challenging. It is so different from our way of speaking. I am really working hard on bringing the language to life. It’s the pace and the word play that make this play funny,” Phillips said.