Earnest

In cooperation with the 2017 Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival – running April 21 to May 9 – The City of Fairfax Theatre Company is presenting their production of the classic comedy from Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” This production will be staged from April 28 to May 7 in Old Town Hall in the City of Fairfax.

This famous play revolves around two bachelors – John “Jack” Worthing and his pal Algernon “Algy” Moncrieff. The pair creates alter egos – both named Ernest – in order to avoid social obligations, find some excitement in their tired lives, as well as to woo women who happen to be infatuated with men named Ernest. “The Importance of Being Earnest” premiered at St. James’s Theatre in London in 1895.

“’The Importance of Being Earnest’ is still as relevant today as it was when written,” said director Amanda Sherman. “The story is a comedic and even sometimes satirical story about societal roles and I wanted to explore how that fits into our world today, especially with our use of technology and how that combines sometimes with nostalgia for the past. The characters all have an alternate idea of reality from their point of view, so we set the play in a world that keeps one foot in the Victorian era and one in the present day to really hone in on the differences and similarities we can find in the two eras.”

While this production makes a conscious effort to bridge the gap between the 1800s and today to make the play accessible to a modern-day audience, it already contains themes that can resonate with an audience of any era, hence the play’s lasting popularity.

“You have two privileged guys who essentially lie their way through life in a way they feel is completely harmless, until (spoiler) they realize it could keep them from getting what they really want, and they get caught and have to face that,” explained Herman. “There [are] all sorts of societal pressures on each character to play a certain role, just as there are today. You also have the mother of Gwendolen, Lady Bracknell, who exemplifies the part of society that is set on a certain way of doing things, and young people who want to create their own destiny in contrast to that. The play is really timeless that way; you see these kinds of ideas play out in many different stories.”

This production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” is happening as a part of the 2017 Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts Festival, which showcases the diverse and ever-growing arts scene in Fairfax, as well as all of Northern Virginia.

“This community is so wonderful in the way it prioritizes bringing the arts to its people,” said Herman. “I don't know of many other towns that bring all the arts disciplines to the forefront every year. Just having the opportunity to produce this in the Old Town Hall is a testament to the support of the Fairfax local government and community.”

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