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Nov. 02, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

SRU revives 'Importance of Being Earnest'

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa - Oscar Wilde's comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest," a sophisticated yet light-hearted classic, will be presented by Slippery Rock University's theatre department in seven performances beginning Nov. 9

The farcical comedy of manners is directed by David Skeele, SRU professor of theater, and romps through the far-flung foppishness and romantic restraint of a not so by-gone era.

WILDE Curtains are at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9, Nov. 11-15 and at 2 p.m., Nov.11. All performances are in the Multi-Purpose Room of the University Union, the theatre department's temporary location while Miller Auditorium undergoes renovation.

The classic play focuses on the lives of two bachelors who maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome social obligations. Country gentleman Jack Worthing invents a younger brother, Ernest, whom he pretends to be when he visits the city so that he can freely pursue the likes of the beautiful Gwendolen Fairfax.

"Meanwhile his city-based companion, Algernon Moncrieff, invents an unlucky invalid by the name of "Bunbury," whom he pretends to visit in the country so he can leave his dull city existence behind for a bit of fun and frivolity," Skeele said.

"The tables turn when Algernon pretends to be Ernest and visits Jack's excessively pretty ward, Cecily, in the country, and begins to woo her under false pretenses. Obviously, Jack is not happy, but when his own deceptive behavior is called into question, the scene is ripe for much hilarity," he said.

Wilde's comedy was first performed Feb. 14, 1895, in London. Reviews of the day praised its humor. It initially ran for 86 performances and was Wilde's last comic or dramatic work. Three film versions of the play have been released, including a 1992 version with an all-black cast and the latest version in 2002.

The SRU cast includes:

  • Nick Benninger, a senior theater major from Prospect, as Lady Bracknell;

  • Jon Luther David, a senior English literature major from Grove City, as Lane;

  • Samuel Fogel, a junior health and physical education major from West Mifflin, as Merriman; Ryan Griffith, a sophomore secondary history education major from Canonsburg as Jack Worthing;

  • Carina Ianarelli, a sophomore psychology major from Canonsburg as Cecily Cardew;

  • Nicholas Kreiser, a junior theater major from Waynesboro, as Dr. Chausable;

  • Rachel Lambert, a sophomore psychology major from Hermitage, as Miss Prism;

  • Ashley Orsino, a senior theatre major/dance minor from Philadelphia, as Gwendolen Fairfax; and Malic Williams, a sophomore theatre major from Aliquippa, as Algernon Moncrieff.

Rebecca Morrice, assistant professor of theatre, is the production's costume designer, and Michael Boone is the technical director.

Chelsey Grossman, a senior theatre arts administration major from Slippery Rock, is the stage manager; Amber Mikec, a junior secondary history education and theatre major from Strabane, and Margaret Rial, a sophomore theatre arts administration major from Erie, are the assistant stage managers.

Alex Barnhart, a junior theater major from Butler, is the sound designer and assistant to the technical director; Kaitlin Bouch, a freshman theatre tech and design major from Evans City, is the make-up designer; and Zach Durler, a senior communication major from Cranberry, is the lighting designer. Charlene Jacka, a senior communication and theatre major from Oakmont, is the set designer; Katie Makufka, a senior psychology major from St. Marys, is the assistant costume designer; and Malic Williams is the public relations coordinator.

Tickets, $7 for students with ID and $12 for the general public, may be purchased in advance at the Smith Student Center Information Desk, or at the door.

For more information, call the SRU Theatre Box Office at 724.738.2645.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.