WILLIAMSVILLE — Rock River Players (RRP) launches its 2022–23 season with Oscar Wilde's satire, The Importance of Being Earnest, Nov. 4 to 13 at the Williamsville Hall on Dover Road.
Directed by RRP founder/co-artistic director Annie Landenberger, Wilde's greatest hit is the second large-cast comedy classic offered by the RRP since the pandemic, following last year's sell out, The Front Page.
“Though Wilde labelled it 'a trivial comedy for serious people,' Earnest is a pretty irreverent satire, a poke in the fleshy gut of pretentious high society,” said Landenberger in a news release. “And for that, I'd say it's meatier than trivial.”
Earnest premiered in London on Valentine's Day, 1895, and has since earned its place on stages as well as the No. 3 spot on Goodreads list of Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time.
In the play, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff employ fictitious selves to escape burdensome social obligations.
“Their antics, coupled with the nose-in-the-air standards of Lady Bracknell and Gwendolyn Fairfax, and the somewhat warped values of Cecily Cardew,” Landenberger explains, “sham the haughty social conventions of Victorian England, as they can our own today.''
Countered by more level-headed thinkers, the news release continues, “Miss Prism and Canon Chasuble, the cast of characters is rounded out by the serving class - on whom we can rely for candor and earthy wit.”
“The cast delivers with richly developed characters and a keen sense of irony, wit, and timing,” Landenberger said. “Just as was the case last year with Front Page, it seems like folks are ready for some big laughter these days, and we aim to please.”
The RRP Importance of Being Earnest company includes Tracy Berchi, Cathie Creed, Amy Donahue, Thomas Ely, Magdalena Keppel, Randy Lichtenwalner, Adrienne Major, John Moran, John Ogorzalek, Cris Parker-Jennings, Dawn Slade, Rose Watson, and Nicole Winot. Assistant director is Pat Panella; graphic design is by Rose Watson, as are costumes - with assistance from Belle Coles and the Company. Lighting by Peter Broussard; set painting by Deb Swasey and Carol Rondeau.
With the mission of bringing the lively arts to the West River Valley and to including all interested in that process, the nonprofit Rock River Players was founded in 2015.