Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Importance of Being Earnest

"The Importance of Being Earnest", a comedy by Oscar Wilde, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ten years, two continents and countless jobs after I dropped out of college after a soul-stifling year of studying a subject in which I had no interest, and being told I had no future in theatre, I saw a notice for auditions at my college for this play.  I thought to myself, "I should do that!"  Then I walked closer for the details.  OH NO!  The auditions were that afternoon.  That little "don't even think about it" voice that we all have started shouting, "It's too quick.  I don't have anything prepared.  I can't do it."

From out of who-knows-where, a different voice whispered, "Go ahead.  Just try it.  If you don't get cast, you'll be no worse off than you are right now, and you'll won't have to wonder 'what if'."

So, I went.  Luckily, years of Anglophilia and watching countless reruns of 'Brit-coms' paid off.  Then came the waiting until the next evening until the cast list was posted.  I walked down the steps to the door on which the list was posted to find that I had been cast as Lady Bracknell.  I floated back to my car and went to my job at Domino's.  I still remember telling everyone there, as many times as they would listen, for oh, the entire shift.

Rehearsals went - well, as rehearsals go.  I was sharing an apartment with three other young women at the time.  I remember memorizing by typing out each line 5 times, then typing two consecutive lines 5 times, up to five lines at a time, going through the scene that way and then whittling down the list at the end.  Kind of anal, I know, but hey, it worked.

Three days before opening night, at our last Sunday rehearsal, the director (our professor) did not show up and attempts to contact her were unfruitful.  As we could not get into the theatre space, we decided to do a line-through in the lobby.  Instead of Earnest's younger brother being carried off in Paris by a chill, we all had Southern accents and the young man was carried off in the bayou by syphilis.  I have never laughed so hard without chemical assistance in my life.

The next night, a substitute director/professor came in and let us know that the former director had had an 'incident' and she would be in the hospital for some time, but not to worry, the show would go on.  The show must go on...right?  I remember my costume being pinned and worked on during the final dress rehearsal.

There were four performances.  My mother attended each one, often with other people in tow.  I forgot lines once during the run of the show, but luckily the actor playing Earnest made up a line that sparked my memory.

I guess I didn't do too badly, because I was fortunate to be involved in 5-6 plays per year for the next 5 years or so, often acting, but also doing tech work, directing, etc etc etc.

So, what is the moral of today's story?  If you really want something in  your life and it's not there yet, evaluate your perceived limitations to see which ones are real.  For instance, I will never be an Olympic athlete.  But one day I may get to visit the Olympics.  Our dreams may not come true in the way or when we want, but if we 'earnestly' (sorry for the pun, but I couldn't resist) seek something, we can usually manifest our dream in some form.


  1. Love this post! I am still (at 46) involved in community theater and even though I have never made a dime- I wouldn't lost those memories for the world!

    Ruby is participating in the A to Z Challenge
    Ruby Wilbur

  2. Great story! Did you ever find out what happened to the director?

  3. Great post. I envy people involved in community theater, those who are talented enough to do so and who have the courage to do it

  4. Thank you all for your A to Z Challenge visits!

    @Ruby - I hear you. The first time someone handed me a check for doing a play, I squeaked!

    @ASquid - Looking forward to your Bloggers' Book Club! And the director? She over-indulged in certain chemical substances and had a little time off. She came back the next year, but sadly succumbed once more, after which she was let go. In a way it was too bad, as she was very talented.

    @JK - At least for me, that's where the rush of opening night comes from. Then it's time to put it all on the line.

  5. I like that moral--I believe in making dreams come true, even if the reality ends up being different than the original fantasy.
    Fellow A to Z'er, Jagoda from

  6. I appreciate your A to Z visit, Jagoda. It's like the line from a certain country song, "God blessed the broken road that lead me straight to you."

  7. Been trying to reach you. You won one of the chicken candlers in my giveaway on Countrified Hicks. Imperative that your get back to me A.S.A.P. or I have to choose another winner. Been emailing you and sending you tweets, etc. for a week now. Check your email account (perhaps spam folder) for an email from me (gravittfamilyof5) or message me on my FB page. Soon, please!!!