Thursday, December 08, 2022

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ to open in Othello

Staff Writer | November 9, 2022 1:25 AM

OTHELLO — A story of young men who deceive, and the romantic trouble it causes them, comes to the stage in Othello this weekend. The Othello High School production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 10 through 12 on the stage at McFarland Middle School, 790 S. 10th Ave.

The Oscar Wilde play premiered in 1895, and director and OHS theater arts teacher Thomas Christesen said that for him it hasn’t lost its appeal.

“I love the show,” Christensen said. “And this particular batch of kids, I felt were up to the challenge. Because it’s not easy.”

Jack Worthing (Sawyer Roylance in the OHS production) and Algernon Moncrieff (Liam Harvey) are young men from 1890s London who are bored, especially with social conventions. Jack is the guardian of his young niece Cecily (Sophia Terayama) and he must present a good example, while Algernon is just tired of social obligations in general. They’ve each found a way to get around all that.

Jack has invented a brother - a wastrel, alas, who drags down the family name in London and requires frequent visits. Algernon has a fictitious friend in the country, an invalid who also requires frequent visits.

Jack has named his imaginary brother Earnest, and that’s the name he uses in town, where he has met and fallen in love with Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen (Genesis Castro). He’s ready to propose, but first he must deal with Gwendolen’s mother Lady Bracknell (Ellie Ashton), who’s - well, there are many ways to describe her, “formidable” being one.

Algernon now wants to meet Jack’s cousin, so he assumes the role of the wastrel brother Earnest. To complicate things, Gwendolen loves the name Earnest, and that might be the thing she loves best about Earnest - no, Jack.

It’s all very confusing, and Christensen said that’s one thing that makes the play appealing.

“The wit in the dialogue, and I just love the plot, the confused identities. The subtitle of the show is ‘A Trivial Play for Serious People,’” he said. “I think that really shows that there are these people who take themselves so seriously, but they’re so ridiculous.”

The cast is taking on a big challenge.

“The young ladies in the lead roles are more experienced. The guys are all brand new,” Christensen said.

The cast has met the challenge, although it’s taken a little more rehearsal.

“We auditioned the first weekend in September,” Christensen said. “There’s been a big learning curve, learning about the time period and the way people behaved.

“And I had quite a bit of pre-planning before that. Some shows are simple enough that you can just pull it off in a month and a half. But this one - there’s a lot of work that went into it, even before the kids were cast,” he said.

Christensen kept the 1895 setting, and the costumes were another challenge.

“I made all of the women’s costumes,” he said.

Tickets will be sold at the door, and are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and Huskie card holders, $6 for students and children 12 years of age and younger, and $5 for students with an ASB card.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached at



Earnest - um, Jack (Sawyer Roylance, right) tries to stand up to his formidable prospective mother-in-law Lady Bracknell (Ellie Ashton, left) in the Othello High School production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”



Jack (Sawyer Roylance, left) - or is Earnest? - proposes to Gwendolen (Genesis Castro, right). “The Importance of Being Earnest” will be performed this weekend by Othello High School drama students.



Cecily (Sophia Terayama, left) is taken with her wastrel Uncle Earnest (Liam Harvey, right) - who’s not really her uncle, or named Earnest. Othello High School drama students perform “The Importance of Being Earnest” this weekend.



Jack (Sawyer Roylance, left) and Gwendolen (Genesis Castro, right) wait for Gwendolyn’s momma to leave.



Jack (Sawyer Roylance, left) thinks he’s found a way out of his dilemma, which he tries out on his friend Algernon (Liam Harvey, right) in the Othello High School production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

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