The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

March 2017
Alhambra Theatre
International British Section

Reading a play, and seeing it acted out, makes a real difference. The students of Première International could not agree more. On the 10th of March 2017, the classes of Seconde and Première of International British Section went to the Alhambra Theatre in Paris.

At the doors of the Theatre, students are waiting, excited to finally see the play they have been reading for weeks. Many schools seem to be present : some pupils are wearing uniforms, others speak with a perfect accent, and some (like us), are just happy to be there ! The actors, dressed as in the Victorian Age, pass through the theatre, holding signs : ‘I am Earnest’. And, as Algernon says in the play, one of them is ‘the earnest looking person I ever saw in my life’.

Then, the lights go down silence falls on the audience and the play starts. A screen is standing at the back of the stage and, in the style of the 30s and silent cinema, presents with a little film, the actors, their characters and the setting.

The original text has been slightly cut, but for the best. Everyone is waiting for the actors to declaim the most famous lines of the play, those we know by heart : ‘To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune ; to lose both looks like carelessness’. Wonderful ! There are 4 talented actors, playing 8 different characters. The staging is fresh, inventive and funny. The inclusion of the short filmed scenes bring rhythm, and modernity to the play. The music also conveys a je-ne-sais-quoi quality of renewal, and gives the play a new breath.

At the end of the play, hands are clapping, and faces are smiling. We hear some « Amazing » and some « I thought I was gonna fall asleep... ». What a strange reaction ! But no misunderstandings ! This play is carried by the talent of the actors, and the ingenuity of the staging. The troupe Théâtre en Anglais makes English literature lively, and fascinating ! And after all, Oscar Wilde’s craziness cannot fail to bring some joy in your life. As the last line says, you will finally  ‘realise for the first time in (your) life the vital Importance of Being Earnest’.

Manon Lagarrigue

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