The school is nearly empty. Students have gone home and teachers are leaving, but one boisterous group remains. The cast of the play awkwardly reads through their lines, not quite comfortable with their characters yet. Karen Dean, the director, gives critiques, slowly turning their stilted reading into acting. Over the weeks to come, they will practice for hours after school, first in the dining room, then in the performing arts center at the Germantown campus.
The cast of nine high school students began rehearsals for Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” in the first week of September on the Collierville campus. The play is a famous comedy written in 1895 about a convoluted love story.
“It’s about two gentlemen who live in England,” Mrs. Dean said. “They are friends, and they have each fallen in love with two ladies who don’t know each other, but the ladies only want to marry someone whose name is Ernest.” The two gentlemen decide to pre-tend to be named Ernest, but doing so is not very earnest (Get it, play on words?).
“The kids are all speaking in British accents, and I just want to see the reactions of other people,” Mrs. Dean said. She is confident that the famous comedy will be a change of pace for the theater.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is widely considered to be the funniest play ever written, and she hopes the production will do it justice. The cast is just as excited as she is, and they think this play will be especially entertaining for the audience.
“It’s interesting, it’s really funny. I think we will hold attention,” said Caroline Higley, who plays Merri, a servant. Entertaining the audience is important for a production’s success, but a happy cast also leads to a good production, and this one has the actors excited.
“I think it’s a good cast, so we’re all going to have a lot of fun at rehearsals and backstage,” Nicolas Gutierrez, a sophomore who plays Jack, one of the male leads, said. “It’s just a really good show.” By the time the play runs, the cast will have spent over eighty hours practicing together, so it’s important that they all like each other.
“You’re going to see some-thing that you’ve never seen your friends do, and you will like it, and you will be amazed at how talented your friends are,” Mrs.Dean said. “It’s funny, and you will have an awesome time!”