WMU News

University Theatre stages Oscar Wilde classic

April 4, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The University Theatre closes it's 2001-02 season with seven performances of Oscar Wilde's most famous comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Evening performances of "The Importance of Being Earnest" -- a trivial comedy for serious people -- are Thursday through Saturday, April 4-6 and 11-13, beginning at 8 p.m. There is also be a single matinee performance on Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m. All shows are in Laura V. Shaw Theatre.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors and WMU faculty and staff and $7 for all students. For tickets, call the Gilmore Theatre Complex Ticket Office at (269) 387-6222. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to each performance.

An opening night reception Thursday, April 4, is co-sponsored by the Black Swan and Epic Bistro restaurants in Kalamazoo. On Thursday, April 11, there will be a sign-interpreted performance followed by a post show discussion with the cast and production team.

The mission of the WMU College of Fine Arts is to elevate the human condition through the arts. Professor Jim Daniels, director of this production, believes the play is a perfect example of how theatre examines the human condition, not only through the play itself but also through the playwright's life.

Says Daniels, "Shortly after 'The Importance of Being Earnest' opened in 1895, Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted on charges of sodomy. He was imprisoned for two years at hard labor. He left prison with his health broken and his career destroyed. He died in poverty in Paris in 1900 at the age of 49. Accused in his lifetime of degrading the human condition, Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest' has been elevating it for over a hundred years."

This production will feature seniors Ross Kidder as Algernon, Mike Martin as Lane and Kristina Bird as Cecily. The rest of the ensemble includes Larry Herron, Rick Eva, Mark Jaynes, Lynne Jacobson, Casey VanWormer and Kirstine Titus.

The design team includes professor Gwedolyn Nagle, costume designer; senior Lesley Sorenson, assistant costume designer; senior Jason Resler, scenic designer; senior Michael Metzdorf, lighting designer; and Christopher Ericson, sound designer.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 269 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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