2008 playwright class/group [ 1 ]


WWWilde *
2007 updated : Wilde and Stoppard 2008 Theatre UAF The pages in WWWilde directory are used for THR121 Fundamentals of Acting! Commedia-Shake
^ The Shrew Film Directing "showcase" ^ Algernon Moncrieff prepares for the arrival of his aunt, Lady Bracknell, and her daughter, Gwendolen, in his stylish and artistic London flat in 1895. His butler, Lane, brings in "Ernest Worthing" (who is listed as "John Worthing" in the cast list and "Jack" in the body of the play, although both Lane and Algernon believe his name is Ernest), who has just returned from the country. Jack reveals he has come to London to propose to Gwendolen. Algernon ridicules the notion of marriage, and says before Jack can marry Gwendolen, he has to clear up the issue of Cecily. Algernon calls Lane to bring in Jack's cigarette case and shows the inscription: "'From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.'" Jack says his name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country. Algernon says he has always suspected Jack was a "Bunburyist," and now he has proof.

Jack explains that Thomas Cardew, who adopted him, willed Jack to be guardian to his granddaughter, Cecily. Cecily now lives at Jack's place in the country under the guidance of her governess, Miss Prism. Since Jack must maintain a high level of morality to set an example, he needs an excuse to get into town. He has invented a ne'er-do-well younger brother named Ernest who lives in Albany, and whose problems frequently require Jack's attendance. Algernon confesses that he has created an invalid in the country he tends to, Bunbury, for when he needs to get out of town. Jack insists that he is through with "Ernest," but Algernon maintains that he will need him more than ever if he marries.

Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen arrive. Algernon tells Lady Bracknell that he will be unable to attend her dinner tonight, as Bunbury is ill. They go into the music room. Jack confesses to Gwendolen that he likes her, and she admits that she likes him, too‹especially since she has always wanted to love someone named Ernest. Jack asks if she would still love him if his name were not Ernest‹if it were Jack, for instance. She would not, she maintains. He proposes to her, and she accepts. Lady Bracknell comes in, and Gwendolen informs her of their engagement. Lady Bracknell says that only she or her father can engage Gwendolen, and orders her to wait in the carriage. After she leaves, Lady Bracknell learns from Jack that he was an orphan, found in a handbag on a train. She is aghast and says she will not allow her daughter to marry him. She leaves and Algernon enters.

Jack tells Algernon what happened, and says he will kill off his brother Ernest later in the week. Algernon expresses interest in meeting Cecily, but Jack does not want this to happen, as she is young and pretty. Gwendolen returns. She tells Algernon to turn his back. She asks Jack his address in the country, and Algernon slyly writes this down and checks a train timetable. She promises to write him daily when he returns there, and Jack escorts her out. Lane comes in, and Algernon tells him he will be going Bunburying tomorrow.

In the garden at Jack's country house, Miss Prism and Cecily discuss Jack's seriousness; Miss Prism believes it is due to his anxiety over his brother. Dr. Chasuble enters the garden. He and Miss Prism leave for a walk together. Merriman, their butler, announces the arrival of Ernest Worthing. Algernon enters, pretending to be Ernest. He and Cecily briefly discuss his "wicked" reputation. When he learns that Jack will be back Monday afternoon, Algernon announces that he must leave Monday morning. He flirts with Cecily and they exit into the house.

Miss Prism and Chasuble return. She urges him to get married to a mature lady. Jack enters the garden, dressed in black. He tells Miss Prism he has returned earlier than expected, and explains that he is dressed in black for his brother, who died in Paris last night. Jack asks Chasuble if he would christen him this afternoon. He agrees, and Cecily emerges from the house. She tells him his brother is in the dining room; Jack says he doesn't have a brother. She runs into the house and brings out Algernon. Jack refuses to shake Algernon's hand, but Cecily says that "Ernest" has been telling him about his friend Bunbury, and that someone who takes care of an invalid must have some good in him. Everyone but Jack and Algernon leaves. Jack orders Merriman to get the dogcart, as Ernest has been called back to town. Jack tells Algernon he must leave, while Algernon expresses an interest in Cecily. Jack exits.

Cecily enters the garden. Merriman tells Algernon the dogcart is ready, but Cecily says it can wait. Algernon compliments Cecily to her great delight, then tells Merriman that the dogcart can come back next week. He asks Cecily to marry him, and she points out that they have been engaged for three months‹ever since she heard of Jack's wicked brother Ernest, she has loved him. She shows him the box of letters he "wrote" to her (which she really wrote to herself). She also admits that she loves him because his name is Ernest; when "Ernest" asks her, she says she doubts she would be able to love him were his name Algernon. He says he needs to see Chasuble quickly about "christening‹I mean on most important business," then leaves.

Merriman announces that Gwendolen has asked to see Mr. Worthing (Jack). Cecily informs him that he has gone off to see Chasuble some time ago, but invites her in. Gwendolen immediately takes to Cecily, but wishes Cecily were not so young and alluring, as "Ernest," despite his moral nature, is still susceptible to temptation. Cecily tells her that she is not Ernest's ward, but his brother Jack's‹rather, she is going to marry Ernest. They compare diary entries. Gwendolen feels she has the prior claim, since Ernest asked to marry her yesterday. The girls argue and insult each other.

Jack enters the garden, and Gwendolen asks if he is engaged to Cecily; he laughs and denies it. Cecily says the man before them is her Uncle Jack. As Gwendolen goes into shock, Algernon enters, and Cecily calls him Ernest. She asks if he is married to Gwendolen; he denies it. Gwendolen says that his name is Algernon. Cecily is shocked, and she and Gwendolen hold each other and make up. Jack confesses he has no brother Ernest, nor any brother at all. The women retire to the house. Jack is angry at Algernon for stirring up trouble with his Bunburying. It is revealed that they have both arranged for Chasuble to christen them "Ernest" later that evening. Jack tells Algernon to go, but he refuses.

Jack and Algernon join Gwendolen and Cecily inside the country house. The women tell the men their "Christian names are still an insuperable barrier." The men reveal that they are to be re-christened this afternoon, and the couples hug. Lady Bracknell arrives, and Gwendolen informs her of her engagement. Lady Bracknell tells Jack that he may not speak any more to her daughter.

Jack introduces Cecily to Lady Bracknell, and Algernon says that he is engaged to her. Only when Lady Bracknell discovers Cecily has a large personal fortune does she give her consent for their marriage. Jack, however, says that as his ward, Cecily may not marry without his consent until age 35, and he declines to give it. He says that he suspects Algernon of being untruthful. He recounts this afternoon's events, in which Algernon impersonated Jack's brother. Jack tells Lady Bracknell that if she consents to his marriage with Gwendolen, he will consent to Cecily's with Algernon. Lady Bracknell refuses and tells Gwendolen to get ready for the train.

Chasuble enters and announces that the christenings are ready. Lady Bracknell refuses to allow Algernon to be baptized, and Jack tells Chasuble that the christenings will not be necessary any more. Chasuble says he will leave, and mentions that Miss Prism is waiting for him. Miss Prism enters and, upon seeing Lady Bracknell, goes pale. Lady Bracknell accuses her of kidnapping a baby boy from her house 28 years ago. Under Jack's questioning, Miss Prism reveals she accidentally left the baby in a handbag on the Brighton railway line. Jack leaves excitedly.

Jack returns with the same handbag. Jack tells her he was the baby. Lady Bracknell informs Jack that he is the son of her sister‹making him Algernon's older brother. Jack asks Lady Bracknell what his original name was. She says he was named after his father; after locating his name under the Army Lists, they learn his full name was Ernest John Moncrieff. All three couples‹Chasuble and Miss Prism, Algernon and Cecily, and Jack and Gwendolen‹embrace. Jack tells Lady Bracknell that he has realized, for the first time in his life, "the vital Importance of Being Earnest."
[ ClassicNotes ]

... [ 0 ] Director's notebook

"The Importance of Being Earnest" Intro

Oscar Wilde : A Trivial Comedy for Serious People [ Dramlit 2007 ]

... "last minute thoughts" : t-blog [subscribe]


From Shakespeare to Wilde to Beckett to Stoppard...

Comedy : Titles ...

Situation Comedy Against Comedy of Characters

"The Importance of Being Aristotle" [ High Modernity, Poetics' POV ]

Sitcoms, TV and the British...


Each character has his or her own pages in this directory. There are post by the members of the UAF cast in the archives of WWWilde Forum (subscribe yourself and research). The egroup has the links to the costume pages by Tara; so you can see how we tried to help actors to follow the concept and the style of the production.

There are other, better developed "production notes" directories (HamletDreams, for one), some topics and issues of making a spectacle are covered over there. Nevertheless, not a single "showcase" directory meant to be seen independently -- they all are attached to several "instructional" web-books with certain targets (Method Acting, Biomechanics, Directing, Script Analysis) -- therefore I recommend to have a goal, while you are looking in information. Search, don't surf!

"WWWilde" is a showcase (part 5) for BioMethod Acting One): Monologue and scene study, working "genre" (comedy) from both sides -- "outside in" (Biomecnahics) and "inside out" (Method). This directory could and should be used for script.vtheatre.net directory, especially, for THR215 Dramatic Literature. Analysis of the basics (Grammar of Drama), composition, conflict and so on (started in 200X Aesthetics). Maybe even a comparative analysis (comedy vs. tragedy): I am about to direct Oedipus (Kabuki style) in 2004-2005. The (directing) concept development: set, costumes, music, mise-en-scene. Would be nice to take directing students (THR331) through the whole process of conception of a show. I have "images" pages in my production notes directories, they have to understand how to search and research for the vision of the show. They have to have their OWN vision, required by the interpreative nature of drama.

I don't know how long it will take to make every production directory into a true "showcase" (I hope that attaching them to my classes as "case study" could force me to fix the "shows" pages).
Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Stories, Plays, Poems and Essays by Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland 006096393X


[The pages were lost with the death of theGlobe; now it is a recovery.] Character(s) pages -- analysis for actors. Monologues. Scenes.

Use it together with the subject pages -- on directing, acting, script.


How the archive pages could be use for my new productions?


Biomechanics and Method directories have logos, not BioMethod? Both have their own domains: meyerhold.us and stanislavsky.us -- why not to use these established names to introduce BioMethod?
Next: title
The McCarter Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, in Princeton, N.J., has recently published these discussion questions in their teacher's resource guide for schools attending Earnest!
  1. A "comedy of manners" is defined as: "A comedy concerned with the social actions and behavior of members of a highly sophisticated, upper-class society. Low-class characters are normally subordinate in interest or are played against the foibles of their 'betters'. Such comedy emphasizes wit, whether true or false, and more often that not takes an arch view of the love game." [Bacon, Wallace A. The Art of Interpretation. 2nd ed.]

  2. What do you think the author satirizes?
    (A few likely answers: upperclass society, shallowness, idleness, social climbing, contempt for the lower classes.)

  3. A theme that runs through this work is "dishonesty" on several levels: Do you agree? How is this theme expressed?

  4. What about this play is realistic? What is not?

  5. Do the characters exemplify society? If so, how?

  6. Is Algernon or Jack more likable?

  7. How are Gwendolen and Cecily...

  8. How would you describe the character of Lady Bracknell?
* WWWilde WWWilde WWWilde