Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Trivial Comedy for Serious People In Door County

Peninsula Players presents Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPRTNCE OF BEING EARNEST

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Greg Vinkler as Lady Bracknell 

There are any number of reasons why a theatre company’s Artistic Director would elect to put a given show on said company’s schedule. There are commercial concerns, personal artistic desires and so on. Maybe it’s a popular farce that would fit quite well into an outdoor summer theatre, for example. Or maybe it would offer an Artistic Director like Greg Vinkler the opportunity to play a late 19th century judgmental British matron. In any case, the Peninsula Players’ decision to stage The Importance of Being Earnest is a good one. Possibly the single best-known work by legendary author Oscar Wilde, the  farce was a brilliant distillation of all those things Wilde had been focused on for the entire length of his career.

And if the decision to stage the play was in any way affected by Vinkler’s desire to play Lady Bracknell, who can blame him? She’s the single most powerful and judgmental character in the entire play (perhaps all of Wilde’s collected work as well.) And then there’s that line—the one brilliantly minimalist line that is considered to be one of the most fussed-over and mercurial line in the history of English theatre. “A Handbag?” Indeed. 

The cast also includes Kevin McKillip as Jack, Tim Monsion as Rev. Canon Chasuble, Peggy Roeder as Miss Prism, Linda Fortunato as Cecily Cardew, Erin Noel Grennan as Gwendolen Fairfax, Tom Mula as Lane and Joe Foust as Merriman.

When Vinkler offered accomplished director Kristine Thatcher the opportunity to direct the play, she accepted. “When Greg asks, artists from all over the country come running,” Thatcher said in the show’s press release. “The second reason I decided to direct it was because Greg is playing Lady Bracknell. That's a phenomenon you don't want to miss.”

The Bay Players’ production of The Importance of Being Earnest runs July 6th -24th at the Players’ space on 4351 Peninsula Players Road in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. For reservations, call 920-868-3287 or visit the Players online.

 

 

 

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