The Importance Of Being Earnest -A Review

Essay, Research Paper

The play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde definitely proved itself to be ?A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.? I saw the play at Lindenwood University?s Jelkyl Theatre. The play was long, in a three-act structure, yet it moved along at a good pace. They did a nice job of preparing the audience, there was an interesting lobby display with sketches of each of the costumes with fabric samples and they played music to fit the time period before the show began.

The first of Aristotle?s six components of theatre is plot. This play had an intricate and definitely interesting plot. The story begins with Ernest visiting his friend Algernon, or Algy, at his house in town. Through comical discussion, Algy soon realizes that Ernest?s real name is Jack, and that he is known as Jack at his home in the country. He simply invented the character of Ernest, his supposed evil brother, for an excuse to visit the city more often. Algernon then confesses that he also has a ficticious friend for an escape from reality. His name is Bunbury, and he is a permanent invalid whose illnesses often allow Algernon to escape from unpleasant social engagements. Jack is beginning to worry, because people back home are gaining curiosity as to why they have never met his brother. So, he and Algernon compose a plan. Jack will simply come home very upset and tell everyone that Ernest has died of a ?severe chill.? This seems like the perfect plan. However, Algernon decides that he wants to meet Jack?s people from the country, especially his eighteen -year old ward Cecily, so Algernon shows up at Jack?s townhouse pretending to be Ernest, Jack?s brother. Everyone is very excited to finally meet him and immediately Ernest(Algernon) and Cecily fall in love. The two of them go inside for refreshments when a very shaken Jack arrives explaining to everyone that Ernest is dead. Everyone is a bit surprised by this, since Ernest is supposedly there. Jack, distrustful of Algernon’s intentions toward Cecily, orders Algernon to leave by the next train. Algernon and Cecily say their goodbyes, and Cecily confesses she has been deeply in love with “Ernest” for a year and has made entries in her diary detailing the courtship. Algernon, wishing to stay “Ernest” for Cecily’s sake, rushes off to the church to be rechristened “Ernest.” Gwendolen, Algernon?s cousin, who happens to be engaged to Jack whom she believes

Jack runs upstairs and retrieves the black handbag in which he was found. The handbag, indeed, belonged to Miss Prism, and Jack was the lost baby. Jack, it turns out is Algernon’s older brother. In a bid to discover his real name, Jack makes a check of historical military records and discovers his real name is that of his late father, Ernest! Ernest is now free to marry Gwendolen, and Algernon may marry Cecily.

Character is the next of Aristotle?s six components, and each of the characters in this play are quite developed. The main character?s name is Algernon Moncrieff, He is of a pretty high social status, and is known as one of London?s eligible bachelors. He definitely has a snobby attitude, believing he is better than most; however, the character is portrayed in a funny rather than ignorant manor. His friend Jack Worthing is an all together different story. He admits that he was adopted because someone left him in the cloak room at a railstation when he was merely an infant. Jack is a little less snobby, yet he seems to over exaggerate most things. Gwendolen Fairfax is Algernon?s cousin and also of high social status. She


The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre, review: 'a trial'

Meet earnest review

11:00PM BST 01 Jul 2015

To make a hash of one revival of The Importance of Being Earnest may be regarded as a misfortune. To botch a second in the space of a year looks like commercial carelessness.

This time last summer the critical knives came out for a stellar production that made the muddle-headed decision to frame Wilde#x2019;s ever-bankable 1895 comedy as a show performed by ageing, bumbling amateurs. Now we#x2019;ve got David Suchet causing a cross-dressing commotion by donning a corset and braving Lady Bracknell #x2013; the first time we#x2019;ve had a male Lady B in the West End.

But while Suchet acquits himself entirely admirably in a part habitually played by leading ladies of high renown (Evans, Dench, Smith), the bulk of the evening, directed by former RSC chief Adrian Noble, is as much a trial as poor Oscar#x2019;s courtroom ordeals.

Watching Suchet in action, I was put in mind of some magnificent figurehead on an ancient sailing-ship that seems to be strangely listing. The dramatic vessel itself, tightly structured and sealed with aphoristic wit, is pretty much unsinkable.

And yet with many of the crew here resorting to sometimes frantic measures to keep things buoyant, tacking this way and that in terms of tone, chasing laughs as one might elusive gusts of air, the main impression is of something barely sea-worthy.

Whenever Suchet is in sight, you#x2019;re less inclined to notice #x2013; or care #x2013; about this lacklustre state of affairs. The man known to millions as Poirot has shone more brightly elsewhere but, still, I can#x2019;t imagine this gift of a gorgon role being better handled by another male actor.

Rather than over-emphasising his feminine side, or stooping to the crasser, panto-dame end of female-impersonation, Suchet locates the mannishness in this haughty, formidable creature. Character and player meet in the middle #x2013; you see the join but it barely matters, and it helps cement the work#x2019;s delight in inverted norms, assumed identities and double lives.

Meet earnest reviewDavid Suchet as Lady Bracknell (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Suchet#x2019;s Aunt Augusta achieves full-spectrum dominance from the moment she sweeps into view in her nephew Algy#x2019;s flat. With a thrusting bosom that could send an aesthete flying, hawk-like eyes that have their glare concentrated by a bushy eye-browed frown and beaky nose, and sour lips so pursed it#x2019;s a miracle her rasping pronouncements escape them, she#x2019;s snooty imperiousness personified.

There are lots of novel touches #x2013; she dismissively scoffs as she utters that notorious line #x201c;A handbag?#x201d;; almost collapses in an apoplexy on hearing that said article was left in a station cloakroom; and tellingly chokes in involuntary shame later on at her confession of having married without a fortune.

If only the same finesse pertained elsewhere. The big find of the night is Emily Barber as Lady Bracknell#x2019;s daughter Gwendolen, not just pretty as a picture but the only member of the cast who seems to have stepped out of a bygone age #x2013; accent, attitude, timing and phrasing spot-on. Fresh-faced Michael Benz just about does the business as Jack (#x201c;Ernest#x201d;) Worthing, but Philip Cumbus lacks the right decadent elan as Algernon: his bon-mots sound second-hand.

Elsewhere, the scenes involving Richard O#x201;Callaghan#x2019;s Rev Chasuble and Michele Dotrice#x2019;s Miss Prism have a jolting Vicar of Dibley-esque jollity, and Imogen Doel could be channelling Bonnie Langford#x2019;s Violet Elizabeth in her enervating, silly-filly Cecily.

I could go on, but I won#x2019;t. Perhaps it will all gather confidence as summer turns to autumn. Right now, with the air-conditioning keeping the Vaudeville as cool as a cucumber sandwich, you won#x2019;t be left so much hot and bothered as vaguely bewildered that this evergreen masterpiece should land with such a reppy thud.


'The Words': Serious Questions, Meet Sappy Romance

Meet earnest review

Frustrated author Rory (Bradley Cooper) and his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana), come into possession of a manuscript that Rory decides to pass off as his own. Jonathan Wenk/CBS Films hide caption

  • Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking

With: Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons

Credit: CBS Films

'A Little Credit'

Credit: CBS Films

Credit: CBS Films

Bradley Cooper has the wolfish grin and raffish charm of a cardsharp — or a baby hedge-fund manager. So at first you may find him a tough sell as a writer of prose so sensitive and interior that even an admiring old-school editor tells him it's unpublishable.

Hold on, though. The writer has moral flaws, and a name, Rory Jansen, that's better suited to a designer of racy swimwear than a crafter of lambent sentences about the inner workings of the psyche.

Rory's wise old dad (J.K. Simmons), who writes the checks that keep Rory at his desk, cautions him to know his limitations. But The Words is an all-American story made in Hollywood — the earnest Big Ideas debut of screenwriters Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who earlier worked on Tron: Legacy. They're fans of Ernest Hemingway and John Fante, tragic titans of literature who, directly and indirectly, push their way into the action. So it's not limitations that are on the table so much as the recognition of genius, and that's where Rory's troubles begin.

Rory and his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana, struggling to breathe life into a character who's little more than a full-service cheerleader), are convinced that greatness seethes within him. In a battered old briefcase picked up by his wife in Paris, Rory finds the manuscript of an enthralling tale penned long ago by a young writer about his sacrifice of the woman he loved for his art.

Frustrated by his own failure to publish, Rory passes off this story as his own. A glitzy new-school editor (Zeljko Ivanek) pounces on it; success follows, along with the literary high life Rory has dreamed of (Amazon, Charlie Rose, black-tie award dinners, the works). The glory is tempered only by the occasional quick twinge of existential unease.

So it's a while before Rory notices the Old Man (get the reference?) who's been hovering around the margins of his sleek new life, and who confronts him in Central Park, where Rory is enjoying a quiet moment resting on his laurels and a park bench. Jeremy Irons has been aging into a more alluring ruin with every passing year, but his grumpy old man is a bit much, not least because, in an overeager costume designer's idea of a Real Writer, he looks in his rags like a bag person freshly risen from his cardboard box.

The Old Man isn't looking for justice, or a cut of the royalties, or even for a public apology. He wants Rory to understand that he has stolen another man's life and work. Fair enough, but here the movie veers off into extended flashbacks to a World War II Paris full of cobbled streets and sepia tones, where a peculiarly bloodless drama plays out in which the Young Old Man (Ben Barnes) neglects his grieving wife — they've lost a child — to work on a short story that just pours out of him.

Meet earnest review

Awash in unearned success, Rory encounters an Old Man (Jeremy Irons), his smash hit's true author, in a park. Jonathan Wenk/CBS Films hide caption


meet earnest review

Arthur Howard's Serious Trouble

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

There's one very real way in which my parents didn't get me. They didn't understand how important it was to me to be funny.

My cruel gibes at the expense of my younger siblings? Well, yes they were cruel gibes, but they were also elegantly crafted. Mean, yes, but clever too!

As any comedian will tell you, it's not easy being funny. And as any budding comedian's younger sibling will tell you, it's no fun suffering for someone else's art.

Perhaps if Serious Trouble had been on our bookshelf, my parents and I would have had a better idea what was really going on! (And we could have found better targets for my inner Don Rickles.)

Meet Ernest. His father is the king. His mother is the queen. (She reads Extra Grimm Fairy Tales.)

Ernest doesn't want to be king when he grows up. He wants to be a jester. And he certainly seems cut out for it.

His parents don't understand his impulses, but Ernest is what he is. This is clearly a matter of nature, not nurture. (He shows up for jousting lessons with an umbrella and a stick horse.)

Ernest leaves the castle one day because he had a couple jokes he wanted to tell. All he needed was an audience. Unfortunately, the audience he finds is the three-headed dragon that's been terrifying the kingdom.

These guys (the heads) have the hearts of hecklers. Ernest tries out his material on them. It goes over like a lead balloon, and not only aren't the dragonheads shy about telling him so, they're going to eat him too.

But like all good comedians, Ernest is willing to aim low when his audience isn't going for his high-brow material. Ernest resorts to physical humor. He tickles the dragon.

Serious Trouble is a little story, but one that could really strike a chord for children and parents who sometimes feel they weren't cut from the same cloth.

And since, at least once in awhile, nearly every set of parents and kids feels that feeling, Arthur Howard's Serious Trouble is a good book to keep around.

Know that, in the end, Ernest gets the validation he needs. As he relates his dragon tale to his royal parents, they actually smile.

(Ernest didn't have to wait until he was 40, like I did, when, after I gave a humorous toast, my father came up to me and said, You're funny. I'll bet you could perform. I said, I do.)

Howard's watercolors capture not only Ernest's joy in entertaining but his inborn resolve to be who he's meant to be. (And what princess-weary parent won't revel in the son of a king who has no interest in going into that particular family business when he grows up? You can tell your daughter there's an opening!)

Serious Trouble#xa0;reminds parents and children that being yourself and having fun are serious business!

Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.


Theatre / The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is an 1895 play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. It is a farce on the societal conventions and restrictions of late-Victorian society, and remains enormously popular today.

The play follows the lives of two best friends, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff. Jack lives in the country with his ward, Cecily Cardew, but spends much of his time in London #8212; where he calls himself Ernest Worthing, so that he can do as he likes without anything getting traced back to his real identity. Furthermore, as luck would have it, his girlfriend Gwendolen (Algernon's cousin) has always dreamed of marrying a man named Ernest. Algernon finds out Jack's ruse, but keeps Jack's secret for his own mischievous purposes: since he knows that there is no such person as Ernest Worthing, he can sneak off to Jack's country home and pose as Ernest Worthing, where he meets and falls in love with Cecily.

Jack, meanwhile, had killed his fictional brother Ernest, only to find that Cecily had already met Ernest in the form of Algernon. Not long after, Gwendolen arrives and meets Cecily, and the ladies soon find that both of them are engaged to a man named Ernest Worthing.

It makes. more sense if you actually read it. And keep in mind that Wilde specifically ordered that the comedic script should be acted with the utmost seriousness. Plus the finale ending with the multiple plays on the word/name Ernest is much funnier if played seriously.

This play provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Truth: Jack and Algernon pretend to be brothers, and it turns out they are. Jack also pretends to be named Ernest, and that was the name he was christened as, before he was lost as a baby.

Jack: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?

Algernon: The fools? Oh! about the clever people, of course.