Sunday, March 22, 2009

In the Wings: The Importance of Being Earnest. Meet Steve Martin, the director.


Steve Martin directs The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, the third production of the 2008-2009 Civic Youth Theatre season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

Steve explained why he wanted to direct The Importance of Being Earnest.

"Many of the characters live their lives in merriment and frivolity," he said. "Polite society forces other characters to live seriously and, therefore, dully. It's when these characters' follies are exposed that any of them truly get what they want. I wanted to be part of a show that suggests people can succeed by being frivolous. I wanted to be surrounded by characters who are vibrant and love life."

Although the play has funny lines and situations, Steve says its plot is pushed forward by the characters' desire to find love, nurture love and be loved in return.

"At its heart, The Importance of Being Earnest is a romance," he said. "Jack loves Gwendolyn, and Algernon loves Cecily. The humor of the situation becomes apparent when the women explain their reasoning for loving the men – they think the men are called Ernest. This forces all the characters into a whirlwind of comedic action, which leads to mistaken identities, three-volume novels, christenings, polite battles of will, transparent gold-digging schemes and the consuming of several cucumber sandwiches and muffins. The satire, the comedy of errors, the farce ... these are a by-product of the characters' desire for love."

Steve concluded by explaining what he believes an audience will most remember about the production.

"In an age when monosyllabic replies have become the norm and efficiency is what people most value in communication, audiences will be drawn in by Oscar Wilde's language," he said. "Whether he's satirizing polite society or poking fun at what people do when they fall in love, Wilde has a flair that will remind people of the power of language and wit."

The Importance of Being Earnest opens April 3 and runs through April 5. The Friday and Saturday evening shows begin at 7:00 p.m.; the Saturday and Sunday afternoon shows begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youth.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, please call 765-423-PLAY (7529) or visit Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette's Web site.

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