Photo Flash: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST At Everyman Theatre

Everyman Theatre's next show in the 2018-2019 season is The Importance of Being Earnest, a light-hearted romantic comedy packed with twists, turns, and witty repartee. Directed by Joseph W. Ritsch Artistic Director of Rep Stage, the tale of worlds turned topsy-turvy with assumed identities lampoons the absurdity of Victorian virtues. The Everyman production showcases a subtext that is as relevant today as it was to its intended 19th-century audience-Wilde's "bachelor" compatriots-inside jokes abound through subtly scripted details. The play runs December 4 - December 30, 2018.

A complicated connection between friends and rakish bachelors Algernon and Jack takes a turn for the ridiculous when Algernon assumes the character of Jack's imaginary wicked brother, Earnest. Jack wishes to marry Algernon's cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen, but he first must convince her mother, Lady Bracknell, (played by Baltimore's master of comedy, beloved Resident Company Member Bruce Randolph Nelson), of the respectability of his past. Town and country clash in a brilliantly wild, funny story of romance, identity, perambulators, and capacious handbags.

Everyman's Earnest draws inspiration from the historical context within the play with choices that endow the well-known work with fresh framing and a new energy. "I've always been a fan of [Earnest] and respect where it sits in the canon", states Director Joseph W. Ritsch. "Restoring the original script (that was heavily censored after playwright Wilde returned from imprisonment due to his homosexuality) honors the politics of the play and elevates the comedy. Knowing that it's intended for two audiences-the regular affluent theatre patrons of the day and the underground gay community-magnifies the double entendres and innuendo when considering the gay code of the play."

"After learning of (Director) Joseph's unique vision, I immediately knew he was the right person for the job," say Everyman Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancisi. "Other art forms play a heavy influence in this show, and the result jumpstarts this cherished work into a caffeinated classic." Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein and the Pop Art movement, the set and costumes are a modern mash-up: traditional period architecture and silhouettes combined with bold pops of color and oversized patterns provide an exciting upgrade to the set and costumes.

The Importance of Being Earnest runs December 4 through December 30, 2018. Tickets ($10-$65) are on sale now, online (everymantheatre.org), by phone (410.752.2208), or at the Everyman Theatre Box Office (315 W. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD).

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