The Importance of Being Earnest
A Trivial Comedy for Serious People – by Oscar Wilde.
Audition: Wednesday 14th Dec 8pm Settlement Hall
Audition: Sunday 18th Dec 4pm Settlement Hall
Performance dates 9-11th March 2023
Rehearsals Monday/Wednesday evening and some Sundays
This play needs actors with energy, out of the box thinking and a willingness to get off-book early so we can play with the physicality of the piece. The language is heightened, and the manner affected but the message has a serious underbelly. Full of contradictions, this play offers a wealth of characters, all of which would be a joy to play! We are also flexible on gender and age for some of the parts – so come on down and audition!
For Audition pieces please click here to download
if you wish to read the play – please contact Pat Baskerville via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to audition but cannot make either audition date please contact Sam Powell : email@example.com
“First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the main protagonists, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, maintain fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions, such as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways. Proving to be Oscar Wilde’s most enduring—and endearing—play, The Importance of Being Earnest is filled with witty Victorian aphorisms and Wilde’s own brand of wisdom. A delicious soufflé of high comedy, unforgettable characters and razor-sharp wit masking a radical, irreverent satire exposing the myths of society.”
“Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only those who can’t get into it do that” (Jack).
“It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?” (Jack).
“In matters of grave importance style, not sincerity is the vital thing” (Gwendolyn).
John Worthing J.P (Jack/Ernest)
Male / Age flexible 30-50
John Worthing (known as Jack by his friends) has an interesting history and a substantial fortune. Based in the country, he leads a double life in London where he goes by the name of Ernest and woos Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen. Whom he adores. And who adores him…as long as he is Earnestly Ernest. A solid, upright member of the British Establishment. An actor who can be still yet physically engaging, serious yet light… would be splendid.
Algernon Moncrieff (Jack’s friend)
Male / Age flexible 30-50
Algernon is a man of good tastes. Living in the better part of London with his manservant Laine to tend his needs, he is able to devote himself to having fun – a most serious pastime. Algernon has a sharp wit and knows the secret of life is to not treat anything too seriously. He is whimsical, impulsive, cowardly and great fun.
An actor with a sharp mind, good speed of thought and a sense of the absurd would go down a treat. Nobody too earnest.
Female Aged 50-80
Her reputation goes well before her. The Indomitable Aunt. The original and best. Does not suffer fools or ill breeding. A snob seeping prejudice and rudeness out of every pore yet somehow, we all love her. This part has big shoes to fill – and we are looking for someone with great stage presence and fabulous comic timing to put their own spin on her and make her their own.
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax (Lady Bracknell’s daughter)
Female / Age flexible playing age late 20s-35
Gwendolen comes from old money. Yet for all her privilege is trapped in the corsetry of Edwardian England. She lives under the cosh of Aunt Augusta, the indomitable Lady Bracknell. She professes love for Ernest but seems more in love with his name than the man. Fiery and headstrong but a little shallow.
Cecily Cardew (John Worthing’s Ward)
Female / Early to mid 20s – the youngest character
Cecily is an heiress and the ward of John Worthing who lives in his country house – tutored and bored in equal measure by Miss Prism. She gets through the days with a healthy dose of imagination. Her main object of desire is John Worthing’s (invented) brother Ernest. So, when Algy comes to visit in the guise of Ernest she soon falls spectacularly love. Cecily is great fun, wonderfully trivial but feisty and represents all the contradictions of the age in which she lives.
Female / Age mid 50s to early 70s
Tutor to Cecily whilst harnessing much desire for the Reverend Chasuble. Miss Prism has a much more interesting past than outward appearances suggest. A writer who has worked all her life in the big houses of society she has done the best her situation has allowed for. She has a heart of gold and an off-kilter sense of humour.
Reverend Canon Chasuble D.D.
Male / Mid 50s to late 70s
On the surface your typical Edwardian country parson. He is embroiled through the play in the plans for the rechristening of both male protagonists to the name of Ernest. An interesting actor is required to breathe life into the inhibited Reverend, and to show his inner (frustrated) love for Miss Prism.
Lane (Mr Moncrieff’s man-servant)
Male aged 40-70
Much put upon yet far smarter than his master. Worldly, exasperated and sparing in his language. A very still, austere, ornament of a man is required. This is a great role requiring huge understatement and great comic timing.
Merriman (Butler to Mr Worthing)
Male aged 40-70
Often doubled with Lane. Good physical comedy skills required.