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Importance of Being Earnest will be a lot of laughs

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Director Rita Peterson has been looking forward to directing  “The Importance of Being Earnest,” for many years.Craig McCue and Renae Snelgrove rehearse a scene from the Importance of Being Earnest. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a play about the hypocrisy of  the British aristocracy. It just makes fun of it all,” Peterson said adding she has seen the play performed twice and has been waiting for the opportunity to direct her own production of it for a long time.
“It’s a very delightful farce, Some people call it Britain’s greatest farce,” Peterson enthused.


“Oscar Wilde is known for his dialogue and “ the Importance of Being Earnest”  has some lovely and likable characters,” she continued adding most people are drawn to the wit  and the dialogue of Oscar Wilde’s classic farce.
“I’ve wanted to stage a production of this play for over 20 years,” Peterson said.


The Importance of being Earnest was first staged in 1895. It is a classic British  farce, a comedy of manners relating the adventures of of two well -to-do and flippant young mNaomi Snelgrove and Andrew Merrigan rehearse. Photo by Richard Ameryen who pretend their names are Ernest to impress the two loves of their lives, who believe men with the name Ernest have numerous winning and marriagable qualities.


“ The cast is having a lot of fun with their characters. They are loving the style and the dialogue,” she coninued.


Two sisters are especially looking forward to being part of the Playgoers of Lethbridge production, Feb. 2-5 at the Yates Centre.
“We were both in ( Lethbridge Musical Theatre’s winter production) Kiss Me Kate together, but we were only in the chorus,” observed Naomi Snelgrove,26, who plays Gwendolen.
“It’s been  a lot of fun. We’re always  quoting lines at each other and talking in weird accents,” she continued.

“Ever since I saw the movie version of The Importance of Being Earnest with Reese Witherspoon, I wanted to play Cecily,” added Renae Snelgrove,22.

 


“It’s typecasting. She’s naïve, innocent and meddlesome. I just enjoy her,” she continued.Naomi and Renae Snelgrove. Photo by Richard Amery


“But I can’t wait until I get old enough to play Lady Bracknell, because that’s a fun role,” she said adding she is enjoying the witty dialogue of the play and the characters.


“I first studied “The Importance of Being Earnest” in university and ever since then I wanted to be in it,” Naomi Snelgrove said adding she was in a Playgoers of Lethbridge production acting on stage with director Rita Peterson back in 2005 in a production of “Breath of Spring.”


“It was a really neat experience. Before we were on stage together. This is a different role for her as director,” she continued.
Renae Snelgrove is looking forward to her first production with Playgoers of Lethbridge.
“I usually lean towards musical theatre. But this is a lot different. I don’t get to sing in this one. So it’s a bit more of a challenge. But I’m just studying the other actors,” she said adding she is enjoying watching the other more experienced actors play off each other, especially Craig McCue, who plays Algernon and Andrew Merrigan, who plays John (Jack) Worthing.


“The rest of the cast has been wonderful. I’ve learned a lot from them,” Renae Snelgrove said.
“Craig and Andrew play off of each other really well,” observed Naomi Snelgrove.


 Some of the cast rehearsing a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest. Photo by Richard Amery The cast is rounded out by brothers Jeff Graham and Stephen Graham, who play the manservants  Lane and  Merriman, Eric Low as Rev. Canon Chasuble, Sheila Mattson as Miss Prism and Kate Connolly as Lady Bracknell.


 “I’m looking forward to the actual performance, because we’re laughing all the time at each other’s jokes. I want to see what the audience will laugh at,” said Renae Snelgrove.


“It’s just being on stage that is so much fun,” added Naomi.
“And the costumes are fantastic. They are real period costumes. Shirley (Kopitski)  has done her research. So it is really going to be special,” Renae Snelgrove added.
Tickets are $20 for the show which runs at the Yates Memorial Centre at 8 p.m. each night, Feb. 2-5.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

A version of this story appeared in the Jan. 26 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times.

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