The Importance of Being Earnest
Tuesday 28th January to Saturday 1st February 2014
Green Room

Synopsis The play is set in 1895.
Act I - Algernon Moncrieff’s flat in Half Moon Street, London.

The play opens with Algernon Moncrieff, receiving his best friend, John Worthing, whom he knows as Ernest. Ernest has come from the country to propose to Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn Fairfax. Algernon, however, refuses his consent until Ernest explains why his cigarette case bears the inscription, “From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack.” John is forced to admit to living a double life. In the country, he assumes a serious attitude for the benefit of his young ward the heiress Cecily Cardew, and goes by the name of John (or, as a nickname, Jack), while pretending that he worries about his younger brother named Ernest , who lives in London. In the city, meanwhile, he assumes the identity of the Ernest. Algernon confesses a similar deception: he pretends to have an invalid friend named Bunbury in the country, whom he can ‘visit’ whenever he wishes to avoid an unwelcome social obligation. Gwendolyn and her formidable mother, Lady Bracknell, arrive. As Lady Bracknell is distracted in another room, Jack proposes to Gwendolyn. She accepts, but seems to love him for his name, Ernest. Jack therefore resolves to himself to be christened ‘Ernest’ as soon as possible. Entering and discovering the proposal, Lady Bracknell interviews Jack as a prospective suitor. Horrified to learn that he was adopted after being discovered as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station, she forbids the marriage. Gwendolen, though, manages covertly to promise to him her undying love. As Jack gives her his address in the country, Algernon surreptitiously notes it: Jack’s revelation of his wealthy ward has motivated him to meet her.
Act II - The Garden of the Manor House, Woolton.
Cecily is studying with her governess Miss Prism. Algernon arrives, pretending to be Ernest Worthing, and soon charms Cecily. Long fascinated by Uncle Jack’s hitherto absent brother, she is predisposed to fall for Algernon in his role of Ernest (a name she is particularly fond of). Therefore Algernon, too, plans to be christened ‘Ernest’. Jack, meanwhile, has decided to abandon his double life. He arrives in full mourning and announces his brother’s death, however the story is undermined by Algernon’s presence in the guise of Ernest. Separately Gwendolyn enters, having run away from home, and meets Cecily. Each declares that she is the one engaged to ‘Ernest’. When Jack and Algernon reappear, their deceptions are exposed.
Act III - Morning Room at the Manor House, Woolton.
Lady Bracknell arrives and is astonished to be told that Algernon and Cecily are engaged. The revelation of Cecily’s trust fund soon dispels Lady Bracknell’s initial doubts, but any engagement is forbidden by her guardian Jack: he will consent only if Lady Bracknell agrees to his own union with Gwendolyn. There is an impasse, which is only broken by the return of Miss Prism, whom Lady Bracknell recognises as the person who, years earlier, as a family nursemaid, had taken a baby boy for a walk in a perambulator and never returned. Challenged, Miss Prism explains that she had abstractedly put the manuscript of a novel she was writing in the perambulator, and the baby in a handbag, which she had left at Victoria Station. Jack produces the very same handbag, showing that he is the lost baby, the elder son of Lady Bracknell’s late sister, and thus indeed Algernon’s elder brother. Having acquired such respectable relations, he is acceptable as a suitor for Gwendolyn after all. Gwendolyn, though, still insists that she can only love a man named Ernest. Jack discovers however that is in fact named after his father, Ernest. All the happy couples embrace—Jack and Gwendolen, Algernon and Cecily, and Dr. Chasuble & Miss Prism. 
Production Team and Cast
Director Shaun Hughes
Producer Jill Downie
John (Jack) Worthing Jamie McCandlish
Algernon Moncrieff Aaron Evans
Lady Bracknell Linda McMahon
The Honourable Gwendolyn Fairfax Siobhan Ames
Cecily Cardew Saskia Wilkinson
Miss Prism Sandra Grant
Rev. Canon Chasuble Robert Hamilton
Lane Geoff Brown
Merriman Mark Barnes
Additional Info First performed in 1895 at the St James’ Theatre, London, the play is a farcical comedy in which the characters maintain fictitious names to escape social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are triviality and the resulting satire of Victorian morals. Its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make this Wilde’s most enduringly popular play and has been revived many times since its premiere. It has also been adapted for the cinema on three occasions. In 1952, with Dame Edith Evans who famously reprised her celebrated interpretation of Lady Bracknell, 1992 and 2002. The latest version incorporated some of Wilde’s original material cut during the preparation of the original stage production. 

Rehearsals will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings
Contacts Shaun Hughes
Tickets Tuesday 28th January: £10 Wednesday 29th January to Saturday 1st February: £13 (£11 for DDOS members)

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with n/a

© Dorking DDOS, Green Room Theatre, Dorking, RH4 1SG
Web Design and Development by Simon Mathews - Please note: This website requires your browser to have JavaScript and cookies enabled to work correctly.
This site has multiple contributors and as a result DDOS cannot be held responsible for the content.

For any queries about the website please contact