Generally acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest comedies, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest comes to Kormilda College. Abounding with razor-sharp wit, hilariously unpleasant
characters and an uproariously ludicrous plot, Wilde’s outrageous satire on the hypocrisy of the rich has remained curiously topical – and is the most popular of all his works.
Man-about-town, Jack Worthing, pretends to be his fictitious brother, Ernest, whenever he leaves his country home to seek pleasure in London. Jack is besotted with Gwendolen and is delighted that she accepts his proposal of marriage although her attraction to him seems based solely on the fact that she believes his name to be Ernest. However, after her mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell, learns of Jack’s lowly orphan status, any question of his marriage to her daughter is swiftly ruled out.
Gwendolen’s cousin, Algernon, is witness to all this, and, after unmasking Jack’s ‘nom de guerre’ and discovering that Jack is guardian to a young woman called Cecily, he sneaks down to Jack’s country home, pretending to be ‘Ernest’. He immediately falls in love with Cecily, only to learn that she is already deeply in love with him too – simply because she believes his name to be Ernest! When Jack, Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen arrive, the absurdity reaches its peak!
Jack Worthing wishes to marry Lady Gwendolen, but he cannot secure the approval of her mother, Lady Bracknell. When he is in the city, he goes by the name of Ernest; when he is in the country, he goes by the name of Jack, which he believes is his real name. As a baby, Jack was discovered in a handbag at
Victoria Station. Therefore, he does not know his own history or his true family.
Algernon Moncrieff is a young bachelor who lives in London. He is a good friend of Jack. Algy is a member of the Victorian upper class, but his primary pursuit in life-bunburying - has left him with considerable debts. He falls in love with Jack's ward, Cecily, shortly after meeting her.
Lady Augusta Bracknell is the mother of Gwendolen and the aunt of Algernon. A member of the aristocracy, she has an overpowering, confident demeanour. She forbids Gwendolen to marry Jack.
Gwendolen Fairfax is the young, beautiful daughter of Lady Bracknell. She is in love with Jack, but a large part of her attraction comes from her belief that his name is Ernest.
Cecily Cardew is Jack's daydreaming niece and ward. Cecily falls in love with Algernon, believing him to be Jack's ne'r-do-well brother, Ernest. She will be given access to a large sum of money when she comes of age.
Miss Prism is Cecily's tutor and a strong proponent of Victorian morality. She once wrote a three-volume novel and she enjoys flirting with Dr. Chasuble.
Rev. Canon Chasuble is the Rector of the church in the country, who has a crush on Miss Prism. Jack and Algy each ask him to rechristen them Ernest.
Lane is Algernon's manservant at his flat in London.
Merriman is Jack's butler at the Manor House.