YST Welcomes Us Back to the Theatre with Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

“The Importance of Being Earnest” opens August 20 at Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena

PHOTO: Marie Lafranque Photography | South Pasadena News | Veronica Koutsky and Roza Zemla in a scene from YST's production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre.

We’re going back to the theatre!

After a long time away, we can use some laughs. This classic comedy, produced by Gloria Bennett for Young Stars Theatre, is just the ticket. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is the most popular of the comedies written by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

Set in London and in Shropshire, England, it involves the doings of two best friends, Jack and Algy (Algernon). Jack lives in the country, protective of his young ward, the “excessively pretty” heiress Cecily Cardew. But he likes to get away to London and the attractions of the city, so he has invented a rascally brother in London named Ernest to whom he must occasionally attend, necessitating his periodic departure from the country. The biggest draw in London for Jack is Algy’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen Fairfax.

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PHOTO: Marie Lafranque Photography | South Pasadena News | Adam Langsam and Tamarah Ashton in a scene from YST’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre

Algy, meanwhile, goes to Shropshire posing as Ernest in an attempt to woo Cecily. As Shakespeare said, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” It also turns out that both women are attracted to men with the name of Ernest, so naturally both fellows make arrangements to have themselves re-christened.

In the course of things, the deceptions of Jack and Algy will be found out. Can their lady loves possibly forgive them? It ultimately turns out that Jack and Algy share more in common than they could possibly have imagined, and that they have destinies that neither could have suspected.

PHOTO: Marie Lafranque Photography | South Pasadena News | Veronica Koutsky, Adam Langsam, Roza Zemla, and Austin Hall in a scene from YST’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” on stage at Fremont Centre Theatre.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” has been celebrated on several counts: for its satirical dissection of English mores, hypocrisy, and class snobbery; for its crisp, witty banter that snaps and crackles, influencing the best of 20th Century film comedies to come. But Wilde believed that more than anything else, a comedy should be funny, and this play delivers.

The cast includes (in alphabetical order) Tamarah Ashton, John Farley, Georgan George, Christopher Girt, Austin Hall,  Veronica Koutsky, Adam Langsam, Jeffrey Santos and Roza Zemla. Jack J. Bennett directs. Although Young Stars Theatre is best known for presenting shows with young casts, this production of The Importance of Being Earnest features an adult cast.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” runs through September 24, 2021 at Fremont Centre Theatre located at 1000 Fremont Ave. in South Pasadena, CA. Fridays at 7PM and Saturdays at 2PM and 7PM. All seats $30.00. In addition to the live, in-person performances, the show will also be livestreamed, with a livestream family pass available for $40.00. Visit YoungStarsTheatre.org.