Alice Bridge, Director of Foot of the Hill Theatre Company’s Michaelmas show The Importance of Being Earnest, outlines her experience working on the production this term.

Nicole and I have thoroughly enjoyed directing Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. As English literature students, we have both previously had to face the play as a text to analyse, which is just not how it is truly supposed to be viewed. Therefore, we have loved having the opportunity to actually bring words to life and properly experience Wilde’s genius. Such an iconic play can never grow old and we hope that we have done it justice.

Set between Victorian London and rural Hertfordshire, the play follows the mischievous Algernon Moncrieff and the romantic Jack Worthing as they pursue the affections of Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew. However, things do not run smoothly as they run into conflict with Bunburying, Lady Bracknell and handbags. The play, while undoubtedly a hilarious comedy, also deals with many important social issues of the time. For example, Wilde raises many interesting questions about gender and family which arise naturally through his satirisation and mocking of the Victorian marriage market. Due to the significance of the Victorian context, we felt it was important to keep it in this time period. However, many of the themes remain relevant today, hence the play’s truly enduring quality.

Our input, of course, has only been a small part of creating this show. We would like to say a massive thanks to Monica Jones, costume designer, who has taken us back in time with great authenticity with her petticoats, waistcoats and hats! Huge credit also goes to the cast. It is not an easy feat memorising lines for a two-hour play with a cast of eight in just a few weeks. However, their perseverance has paid off and each and every cast member has perfectly captured their roles. It has been an experience filled with fun from beginning to end and we hope that you all enjoy watching the show as much as we have enjoyed creating it.

The Importance of Being Earnest will play at Kenworthy Hall, St. Mary’s College, on 17th and 18th November at 7:30pm.