It's a comedy 'of manners, a social parody of wit, .words, and* the art of conversation. It's "The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde, and it will be the first feature production presented by the Fullerton College Theater Arts Department this semester.
Pam Richarde, the assistant director, had been running rehearsals in director Tom Blank's absence. (He returns back from a trip to Sweden on, Monday.) Thus, she has had her hands full with the enthusiastic cast of "Earnest."
The four leads in the play have been double-cast so that more student actors have an opportunity to be in the show. According to Richarde, parts were picked with characterization relationships in mind and the ability to handle the difficult dialect of the late 19th Century English upper class.
"it's a -style piece," said Richarde of the plot. "Wilde makes fun of the upper class' attitude towards money, land, and family." The storyline is a whimsical mix of word play and mistaken identity, centering around two young couples, a domineering mother, and the creation of an imaginary "Earnest"character, which all combine to create a great deal of, fun for audiences.
Jean Brosang, who has been involved in some FC workshop productions .(including the successful "Beyond Therapy" last semester), plays the part of Lady Bracknell, the matronly figure who sort of controls the madness. Brosang is also involved in'-community theater locally and has worked in theater in New Jersey, New York, and the Midwest.
The double-casted roles of the four main characters are Jack (Royce Reynolds, Don Mercer), * Algernon (David Paris, Jeff Nowlin), Gwendolyn (Andrea Stevens, Michelle -Muratori), and Cecily (Conni VanBilliard, Andrea Stevens).
Stevens, who has been involved in numerous productions at FC, including "The Miss Firecracker Contest," "Lion in Winter," "Taming of the Shrew," "Tartuffe," and "Diviners," is facing an interesting challenge. She will split duty as both Gwen, the uppity, classy picture, of sophistication, and Cecily, a naive and outspoken airy type. The parts, said Stevens, are "like night and * day." Asked how she plans to handle the double duty, Stevens admitted, "'It may be confusing * at certain scenes when the two appear on stage together.. .Im going to be worried about crossing my lines."
* Muratori and VanBilliard, although not new to FC theater (Muratori was in '"Beyond Therapy"), will be doing their first major show here. All of the* female parts in the show will have to deal with an added handicap - a corset - that they must wear through every rehearsal in preparation for the real thing. The corsets can be uncomfortable and awkward, but the actresses all seem to be adapting reasonably well.
"You grow, numb to it," smiled Muratori. Now in, in his third semester in the FC theatre department, has been involved in the earlier productions of "Shrew," "Lion in Winter,"' 'and "Hello, Dolly (this past summer.) Paris, as-the other Algy, is returning to FC theater after a brief departure. He was in "Private Ear," "Zoo Story,'' and 'Four Poster" on the FC stage in years past.
Don Mercer (Jack), who has done "Shrew" and "Dolly" for FC, believes the cast will work well together once they get going. A lot of things.were up in the air for the first two weeks of rehearsals due to Blank's absence, but Mercer said he is confident things will work out. "We'll come around with lots of determination and hard work. .
Royce Reynolds. has done "Dolly" and "George M." at FC and is currently involved in the campus singing group "Bravo," but this will: be his first "straight" play.
Since the:play demands that the performers speak in the accent of late 19th Century English folk, much of the rehearsals have been dedicated to practicing that dialect.
"Captain Crackskull Crack'd a Catchpoll's Cockscomb" is just one of the silly tongue twisters that Richarde has-been flinging at the cast, and if you think that's tricky, try it in' your best Queen Elizabeth imitation.
"They (the twisters) make you crazy, but they help," said Muratori, after a particularly grueling- round of "Peter.Piper picked..."
The remainder of the cast, along with each person's previous FC experience, includes: Lisa Laguette ("Pipe Dream," "Black Comedy"), as Miss Prism, Kyle Myers ("Peter Pan," "Hello, Dolly"') as Chausuble, Nick Skintzor in the role of Merriman and Randy Carlson'("Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "George M'.," "Diviners") as a. hilarious John Gielgud-type butler named Lane.
Maids and butlers in the show are Teresa Fay, Kathleen Lucero, Diane Mulligan, Sylvia Boggs, Julie Guevara, Jennifer Brumier, Kara. Poulin,. Mark Fleischer, Andy Salazar, Michael Milam, Michael Varisco, Nick Boicourt, Chris Hayes, and Kurt Heiden.
You can catch the show this fall when it opens October 14th for several shows through October 19th, in the campus theatre.
For ticket and show information, call 871-8101. Try not to miss out on this one. With this band of talented performers and a script, full' of wonderful fun and frolic, this may prove to be a jolly good show.