Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Importance of Being Earnest

My favorite production of “Earnest” was my first, mostly because it involved the recognition and appreciation of an amazing new talent. This was back in 1999, I think, at a winery way out toward Lake Anne somewhere that used to do outdoor summer production under a tent. Early during that summer, they had done Checkhov’s “The Seagull,” and Erin Thomas was luminous and delicate as Nina. Then they did “Earnest” and I don’t even remember what character Ms. Thomas played (I want to say Lady Bracknell, but that doesn’t seem right) but she was saucy and tart and incredibly funny. Those two roles back-to-back convinced me that she had a singular ability and she’s continued to do great things in town ever since. Lately, her big roles have tended toward the wide-eyed and innocent: Joan of Arc, Pocahontas. I hope she gets another saucy role like the one she had in “Earnest” to highlight the breadth of her talent.

The production that opened at CAT last night has Una Harrison as Lady Bracknell which could be something of a hoot (complete cast and crew listed here). I hope the production is good because I recommended it to my boss (sight unseen – not always a good idea!) and I don’t want to get fired…

I’m enjoying reading the responses/perspectives generated by the reviews I posted, particularly “Caesar.” I am heartened by the impression I’m getting that there are discerning theater patrons out there who think about productions in a critical way. I really believe it is possible to put out “constructive criticism;” the people posting (so far…) have certainly demonstrated that. It’s disheartening for me sometimes when audiences seem impressed by the simple mechanics (i.e., “how do you remember all of those line?”) and don’t think harder about whether an actor, designer or director did his/her job well.

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