Theatre presents new take on classic play

Allison Hearn (left), sophomore business administration major, argues with Savannah Treleven, freshman theater major, in the theater production of "The Importance of Being Earnest." | Photo by Anne Richoux

By Katlyn Moncada, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Union University Players kept students and community members captivated and entertained throughout the opening night performance Oct. 27 of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Originally written and performed in 1895, Oscar Wilde’s classic play has been updated to 1938 in the university’s version. According to David Burke, professor of theatre and director of theatre, the play was changed to this time period to reflect the changing atmosphere right before World War II.

“We have a great cast that is solid from top to bottom,” Burke said. “There has been a tremendous amount of hard work and I could not have done it without them.”

Burke also said “The Importance of Being Earnest” was chosen because it was requested twice on the comment cards filled out by audience members.

Castle Swanson, mother of cast member Aubrey Swanson, drove from Memphis to watch the performance and said it was definitely worth the drive. She said the production was entertaining and the “comic timing was wonderful.”

Allison Bucknell, sophomore English major, said she was not a typical playgoer.

“The fact that I enjoyed this play says a lot,” Bucknell said.

She said she enjoyed the play’s humor and that the plot was not straightforward and predictable, such as in some plays.

At the end of the performance, the cast held hands, bowed to the cheering audience and joyfully walked out of the W.D. Powell Theatre. They waited in the lobby to meet the guests’ words of praise as they exited.

Allison Hearn, sophomore business management major, said she was doing what she loves most — theater. She played Gwendolen Fairfax in the production and also spent a lot of time building props for the stage. Hearn said the opening-night performance was like a dress rehearsal, but filled with laughter.

Ben Haws, junior media communications major who played Jack Worthing in the play, said he was pleased with the way the night went.

“For an opening performance, this was a wonderful crowd,” he said. “The cast was spot on, as usual. Everything went without a hitch.”

The cast and crew had been working tirelessly, but Haws said it was worth the effort and it “all pays off in the end.”

“Being able to perform in front of an audience is one of the best feelings ever, but it is a lot of work,” Haws said.

The performances will continue throughout the weekend with 7:30 p.m. showings Oct. 28–29, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The cast will also perform at 11:30 p.m. tonight and a matinee show at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Those attending on Halloween in costume get in free.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream