by: Gretchen Belgrave

The Importance of Being EarnestWhat’s in a name? WAIT, WAIT ­ we’re not doing Shakespeare ­ yet. Besides, in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Curtain Call Theatre’’s current production, names do matter ­ they’re quite important actually. Well… one particular name.

According to young Gwendolen, this name “has a music of its own. It produces vibrations”. Now if this seems a bit superficial, you’re right. Lady Bracknell regrets to say that they were “living in an age of surfaces”.

This applies to words in general. In this stylized but spirited comedy of manners, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. How words are worn is as important as how the chin is worn (“very high” at that time). Gwendolen tells Cecily, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” Cecily thinks that even if she can’t believe what her suitor tells her, it “does not affect the wonderful beauty of his words”.

Do these characters ever say what they mean? Can they believe each other, or themselves? Names and other words can be used to define us, to gain status, or just for fun. We can’t all be Earnest but some can try ­ with hilarious results.

Scene from The Importance of Being EarnestAlthough mocking one’s society is somewhat risky, it’s obvious that the clever and controversial Oscar Wilde is having a great deal of fun laughing at the entrenched nonsensical postures of his time. This play is rather Shakespearean, with its twisty identity confusions, over­the­top characters, and silly resolutions. Mr. Wilde holds a mirror to the human soul, but makes it catch light and sparkles with irreverent wit as we laugh, not only at the past, but at ourselves.

Curtain Call Theatre has again assembled a fine assortment of talented actors and created a simple but elegant set, utilizing innovative technical improvements. Come and see for yourself and take a splendid romp through Edwardian England. Lady Bracknell is quite firm on this point (as she is on all points).

“The Importance of Being Earnest”, directed by Michael Tabib, will open on March 15. Friday and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Regular admission is $20, Seniors & Students with ID $15. The first three Fridays are “pay­what­you­can”. Our Gala Event fundraiser will be Saturday, April 12, closing night, with a delicious buffet of entrees, side­dishes, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, champagne, wine and non­alcoholic beverages; tax deductible donation is $40.00 Doors open at 7PM, Curtain at 8PM.

For reservation and further information, call (707) 524­8739.