The Importance of Being Earnest 26.01.18

Students in years 10 – 13 from both Loughborough High School and Loughborough Grammar School came together to give a brilliant performance of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest, a trivial comedy for serious people’ written by Oscar Wilde.

The play was staged in an immersive style with the audience being welcomed into the house of Algernon Moncreiff at the beginning of the performance and sitting in the round for the duration of the performance.

Originally performed on Valentines Day in 1985 at the St James Theatre in London, the play is about two young gents who have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives. Jack Worthing has invented a brother, Earnest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave his dull life behind to visit Gwendolyn Fairfax. Algernon Montcrieff decides to take the name Ernest when visiting Worthing’s young and beautiful ward, Cecily Cardew. Things start to go awry when they end up together in the country and their deceptions are discovered. It is a farcical comedy working within the social conventions of late Victorian London. The play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways.

The production was directed by both Rebecca Hooper (Drama teacher) and Dr David Cladingboel, Chemistry teacher at LHS.

“I played the role of Ernest in a school production and also studied the play as part of my O-level English literature. I think this helped me get the grade I did because I was able to write lots of quotes in the exam and probably still could; I do remember a huge number of the lines despite this being quite some years ago now. I have loved the play ever since and wanted to be involved in a production again. Together with direction from Miss Hopper and a superbly imaginative set design by Mr Viccars, despite ‘a few expurgations’, as Lady Bracknell might say, of Oscar Wilde’s original script, we have been able to do this incredibly clever and witty play justice.” David Cladingboel

All performers were fantastic and were able to embrace the difficult style. Take a look at the gallery of wonderful photographs (courtesy of Jake Hilder Photography)

Quotes from audience reviews:

“I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and I thought the maturity of the cast to perform so convincingly with the audience, so much in their sight-lines, was remarkably assured and polished. I was equally impressed by their ability to affect with conviction the mannered style which is so much a part of the play’s attractions since it was first performed on Valentine’s Day in 1895.”

“Peter Viccars’ set design was, as always, imaginative and sympathetic to both the play and the players and the ambiance created by the “Downstairs” staff and their offers of refreshment beforehand was delightful, as was their management of the setting which was dignified and practical.  Particularly impressive was the judicious cutting of the script which deftly left intact the narrative and the witticisms which are so famous without the audience once feeling short-changed.”