Driftwood Players

"The Importance of Being Earnest" Feb. - March 2007

By Oscar Wilde, Directed by Gary Morean

Front: April Kinder: (Cecily Cardew) Karissa Rask: (Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax)
Rear:  Clayton Self: (Algernon Moncrieff (Algy) Kathe Rowe: (Miss Prism) Bryan Blackburn: (Lane) Dave Foscue: (Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.) Tim Shute: (Butler) Nina Morean: (Lady Bracknell) Steve Natwick: (John Worthing, J.P. (Ernest)

Pictures by: Keith Krueger

From The Daily World/Preview

'Earnest' a gentle, loving farce
By Callie White
Daily World Writer

    "The Importance of Being Earnest" is the punny name of a play that asks: Would you like lies with that?

    And why not? Playwright Oscar Wilde cooks them up so they're not dark or greasy -- they're crispy and soft in the middle and served fresh by the cast of the Driftwood Players.

    Clayton Self is the poshly-accented Algernon Moncrieff, who lives a life of leisure as a droll, moneyed Londoner who concocts a sickly friend, "Banbury," to excuse himself from boring dinners in the country, ironically giving him the appearance of having a sense of compassion and duty that are foreign to him. Steve Natwick's John Worthing has given himself two identities -- he pretends to be Earnest in the city, ostensibly his own brother.

    Now, in order for audience members to buy that these men have maintained their lies appreciably well, they have to accept that the other characters are stupid. Not just stupid, but so blind that it never crosses their minds to wonder, say, why Worthing, who was found in a handbag in Victoria Station, would have a brother.

    Enter Nina Morean, whose imperious and ignorant Lady Bracknell makes it all clear. Morean, a constant in Driftwood productions, get all the best lines and delivers them with all the right attitude. She's just the right amount of ridiculous and a delight to watch with lines like, "Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone."

    Not to worry, nothing seems to touch each character's special ignorance, which could make the play more cutting, but in director Gary Morean's hands it is a gentle, loving farce, populated by naive would-be brides like Karissa Rask's Gwendolyn and April Kinder's Cecily, a governess who isn't really bright enough to teach (Kathe Rowe's Miss Prism, and the second Driftwood play in recent memory in which she puts on an Irish accent) and a country vicar (Dave Foscue) whose lust for the governess can't overcome his natural obtuseness.

    In the end, in spite of protest to the contrary, no one learns anything, and really, it would be a shame if anyone did. The mythical England that Driftwood conjures up works best in its own, untouched bubble.

    Special props should also be given to the costumers -- Nina Morean's outrageous hat and Rask's bold-colored dresses say a lot about their characters.

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