The Stage Is Set For Spitfire Theatre Company’s Exciting New Interpretation Of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest
Only one other writer could compete with Shakespeare for the title of the most quoted playwright, and that is Oscar Wilde. Spitfire Theatre Company produces their first production of a Wilde play with The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Jenny Jenkins from 10 - 12 November.
The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s last play and has been hailed as one of the cleverest comedies in the English language. Dapper Jack Worthing and Algernon, his compatriot in cavorting, have fallen for two ladies who have their hearts set on marrying a man named Ernest. In order to pursue the romance, both men concoct an elaborate deception which leads to an even more outlandish surprise when the formidable Lady Bracknell starts sleuthing about for the far-fetched truth.
Wilde was a great admirer of the social commentary plays of Shaw and Ibsen. In this new interpretation, Jenny Jenkins draws parallels from the recent popularity of such brash "constructed Reality series" like The Only Way Is Essex, Geordie Shore, but most prominently the West London based Made in Chelsea.
"Oscar Wilde's 'comedy of manners' satirised the wealthy upper classes of his time," Jenny explains, "This is a play about young people with too much money, too much time, and not enough to care about and the 'Chelsea Set' seemed like the perfect modern parallel. So much of the script is characters spouting Wilde's perfect witticisms through ridiculous observations on life, seemingly to no-one in particular. The idea that these characters were trying to entertain and inspire a legion of fans through a reality TV series really appealed to me and has driven our rehearsal process."
The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the period of Wilde’s life when he had his own secrets. A happily married man with children, Wilde also conducted a whole other life with Lord Alfred Douglas. The Importance of Being Earnest opened on Valentine’s Day in 1895 and shortly thereafter the great scandal of Wilde’s life became public. He was imprisoned, his named removed from the play, and Wilde never came back as a literary force within his lifetime.
Jenkins makes her Spitfire Theatre Company directing debut with The Importance of Being Earnest. A graduate of Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Foundry. Jenny toured the South West with Patchwork Theatre and is now artistic director of BrightParticular Productions. Recent credits include Spiced Indian Air for Royal Shakespeare Company Pilot Sites, The Recruit at A.E. Harris and Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream for Shakespeare in Performance. Jenny is an experienced workshop leader and youth theatre director and co-directed Don't Feed the Animals by Jemma Kennedy at the National Theatre for Connections.
Tickets to The Importance of Being Earnest are available now through the Spitfire Theatre Company box office by clicking here or by calling 01788 863 033.
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