REVIEW: “The Importance of Being Earnest”, FAU’s theater production is like watching the Kardashians, minus the disgust

Jamie Vaughn

Courtesy of FAU Department of Theatre & Dance
Courtesy of FAU Department of Theatre & Dance

Hilarious innuendos, witty puns and British accents took center stage at Studio One on Friday, Nov. 15 for FAU’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde.

“I absolutely loved the play,” freshman special education major Sara Paull said. “It was so funny and I think it really grabs people’s attention.”

“Earnest” is the second major play held by the department of theater and dance this semester, and according to the ticket tellers, it sold out for opening night—outselling the department’s previous production, “The Cherry Orchard.”

Set in London during the 1800s, “Earnest” is a comedic play that showcases how wealth and appearances are most important in life. The play can be parallelled to some of today’s reality shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s.”

In fact, the Kardashians were a small part in theater Professor Kathryn L. Johnston’s decision to direct the play this semester.

According to the director’s note on the first page of the playbill, Johnston was appalled that a local news station decided to air the Kardashians receiving the key to the city of North Miami as breaking news. After rereading her copy of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” she realized that things hadn’t changed much since Wilde’s time, which prompted her to direct the show at FAU.

“Earnest’s” plot revolves around the wealthy Jack Worthing (played by Scott Wells) and Algernon Moncrieff (played by Wade Appleton), who create fake personas using the name Earnest to achieve their trivial desires and win the hearts of the women they love. All of their lies and deceit lead to mix ups and confusion among the other characters of the play, specifically their love interests.

Theater grad student Jenna Wyatt plays the young and hilariously dim-witted Cecily Cardew, the love interest of Algernon. She kept the crowd laughing with her childish obsession for reckless bad boys.

“This is my most favorite play of all,” Wyatt said. “It’s a fun show to just come and listen and laugh. It’s a great honor to play Cecily.”

“Earnest” is the fourth play Wyatt has acted in at FAU and though she admits to still getting pre-show nerves, she has learned to channel it into good energy.

While all of the actors did good jobs in their portrayals, there were definitely a few crowd favorites.

Senior multimedia studies major Faye Francis said, “Lady Bracknell [Elizabeth Price] did an   amazing job and really kept me laughing.”

If the ladies of “Earnest” were members of the Kardashian family, Price’s Lady Bracknell would be Kim. Prince portrayed her role as Algernon’s aunt with ease, letting everyone know she was in charge by demanding attention whenever she took the stage, even going as far as banging her black parasol for dramatic effect.

Wade Appleton was another favorite of the crowd with his portrayal of Lady Bracknell’s nephew, Algernon. If “Earnest” were the Kardashian family, Algernon would be Scott Disick.

He is young, arrogant, rude yet hilarious and all about physical appearances. Appleton oozed snotty, little, spoiled brat with a charming confidence that made you want to root for his character, despite his crass behavior.

“I was super impressed by Wade, I mean everyone is always super amazing but Wade just killed it,” said Racquel Goldman, a junior multimedia studies major and volunteer usher for the show.  “He was amazing and he was so funny the whole time.”

 The play, which runs from 7-9:30 p.m., consists of three acts that are separated by two 10-minute intermissions and one five-minute intermission for act three.

The stagehands used these intermissions to change the scenery and switch out props, going from Algernon’s elegant apartment setting, to a garden scene with wispy trees and ending with the drawing room setting that was filled with books. While the scenery was minimal, the props made it easier to picture the settings of each act.

At the end of the night, the crowd was left laughing at the witty ending and most everyone left with a smile still on their face. A few even waited to congratulate cast members.

“This play would be a really good one to see because its not a drama,” Goldman said.  “It’s a comedy so it will keep you awake. It’s really funny.”

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will continue next weekend until Sunday, November 24. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. on Fridays; 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Saturdays; and 1 p.m. on Sundays.Tickets are $20 for general admission and $12 for faculty, staff, alumni and FAU students. Group pricing is also available. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-564-9539 or visiting the FAU events website.