A Trivial Comedy for Serious People to show in Zella Fry Theatre this October

By: Vera Boateng


Each academic school year, theatre faculty members get together and showcase plays that are classical and modern theatre for youth.

This semester, one of those plays is Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.” E. Teresa Choate, a theatre professor at Kean University, is directing the play.

“We’ve decided to add this play to the agenda because we felt like we needed to laugh these days; it will make us happier,” said Choate.

“The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” is a comedy about two young men named Jack and Algeron. Set in Victorian England, these men escape from harsh social obligations of the time by pretending to be someone that they weren’t. They name this persona Earnest.

“It was difficult playing Jack because you don’t know where to place him since he doesn’t know who he is himself,” said Christopher Centinaro, a freshman at Kean.

These double lives that they live eventually lead to confusion when two other characters, Gwendolyn and Cecily, both fall in love with the persona of Earnest.

“Gwendolyn is a flirty, exciting and fun character who was fun to play because she is willing to do anything to get who she thinks is Earnest,” said Emily Conklin, a senior at Kean, who plays Gwendolyn.

Other characters also add humor to the mishap, such as the daunting Lady Bracknell, a woman who is passionate about social status and public opinion. She becomes an undeniable hurdle that the characters face throughout the play.

The play Wilde created is meant to skew social customs and the maniacal obsession with keeping up appearances in today’s society. It also portrays appearances and perceptions of those who lived in during Victorian England.

Wilde, according to the play information, was a man of a scandalous reputation and exquisite taste. He originally created “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1895 and the play debuted on Valentine’s Day.

The play will take place at the Zella Fry Theatre on the first floor of Vaughn Eames on on Oct. 22, 24, and 25 at 8pm, Oct. 25 at 2pm, and the Oct. 23 show at 5pm will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

For ticket information, contact the Kean University Box Office, 908-737-SHOW or visit www.keanstage.com.

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