Twin Beach Players’ Importance of Being Earnest
A trivial comedy for serious people
“I practice my English accent for at least 15 minutes before the show starts,” says Jeffrey Thompson. The 16-year-old plays Jack Worthing in Twin Beach Player’s all-teen production of in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest.
The teens’ hard work and weeks of practice paid off for the all-teen cast. Focused and on cue in every scene, they’re a team.
A stage veteran at 19, Brianna Workcuff makes her directing debut in this production.
“There were definitely days when I wanted to quit,” she says. “But I stayed with the show, and I’m so glad. Hearing the actors’ ideas of their characters, watching them grow with each rehearsal and seeing them interact has been a thrill.”
The setting is the English summer of 1894. Three simple stage dressings — a flat, a garden and a drawing room — allow the North Beach Boys and Girls Club the illusion of that faraway time and place.
The play is a comedy of manners, a genre that turns people’s customs back on them.
The smugness and pomposity Victorian society impels the two main characters, Algernon Moncrieff (Aaron Fowler) and Jack Worthing, to invent fictitious alter egos so they are able to escape the strictures of propriety, even decency.
Algernon and Jack are knee-slapping hilarious in their Bunburying, the practice of creating a deception that allows them to misbehave while seeming to uphold standards of duty and responsibility they’ll need to get their girls. By the way, both girls — Gwendolyn Fairfax (Devin Thrasher) and Cecily Cardew (Katherine Willham) — are in love with the imagined Earnest, or at least his name.
Society in the person of Lady Bracknell is hoodwinked but nearly has its revenge on another delightfully improbable point of impropriety. Samantha Wadsworth as Lady Bracknell and Marina Beeson as governess-with-a-secret Miss Prism represent Society with prim propriety.
“Wilde used a lot of humor in his writing, and these teenagers are getting it,” said Sid Curl, Players president.