Ohio University Eastern Theatre presents ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

PERFORMANCES SET  — Ohio University Eastern’s theater department will present “The Importance of Being Earnest” beginning today through Sunday and April 26-28 on campus. Cast members include, front, from left, Chelsey Barnes, Derek DeMattio, Cody Kramer and Rebecca Lewton; and back, Audrey Dillon. -- Contributed

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The theater department of Ohio University Eastern will offer Oscar Wilde’s, “The Importance of Being Earnest” today through Sunday and April 26-28 in the Shannon Hall Theater.

“The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People” was first performed on Feb. 14, 1895, at the St. James’s Theatre in London.

This is the third time OUE Theatre has staged the “Importance of Being Earnest,” a play some critics have called the funniest ever written. Previously produced in 1986 and 1997, the play focuses on the friendship of Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrief. Both men lead double lives and as their secrets are revealed, hysterical complications ensue. The plot is filled with moments of high and low comedy that will have audiences rolling with laughter.

The real attraction of the play, however, is the brilliance of the language according to OUE Theatre Director Dennis Fox. “The absolute appeal of Wilde is his use of language. From the first line of the play to its ending, the language is a constant verbal barrage of wit. There is very little opportunity for the audience to catch their breath from laughing. It is an extraordinary play,” he said.

Fox has assembled a veteran cast for this production: Cody Kramer of Martins Ferry, Derek DeMattio of Richmond, Carly Greiner of Barnesville, Michael Lane of Quaker City, Matt Smith of Flushing, Renno Barnes of Barnesville, Rebecca Lewton of Martins Ferry, Chelsey Barnes of Barnesville and Audrey Dillon of Barnesville.

Assistant director is Megan Simcox of Colerain.

Thursday evening performances begin at 7 p.m., and all seats are priced at $5. Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8 p.m., and general admission seats are $8 and student and senior seats are $5. The Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. and all seats are $5.

For information or to make reservations, contact Fox at (740) 699-2340 or ouetheater@ohio.edu.