By Elise Schoening
For four nights, the Black Box Theatre in Kendall Hall rung loud with endless laughter as members of the All College Theatre, also known as ACT, put on another memorable performance for students, faculty and the public.
The talented theater group brought Oscar Wilde’s timeless and comedic play, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” to life with a small cast consisting of only nine actors. The show ran from Wednesday, Sept. 30, to Saturday, Oct. 3, with a number of sold-out performances. Students who were unable to attend one of the showings truly missed out on the showcase of student talent here at the College.
“Even on nights that weren’t completely sold out, the laughter and enjoyment that was present with every audience was more than enough to make us all proud of what we had accomplished,” said history and secondary education major Rachel Friedman who starred in the show as the charming Miss Prism.
Set in England during the late 1800s, “The Importance of Being Earnest” tells the story of two gentlemen who develop a bad habit of bending the truth and the resulting downward spiral that arises when these lies finally catch up with them. According to Friedman, ACT put on a number of more serious plays during the past year and therefore chose “The Importance of Being Earnest” for its comedic relief.
“When the organization was deciding on its season for this year, we wanted something lighter and, ideally, comedies,” said Friedman. “‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ seemed to be the perfect comedy for our organization because it’s a classic comedy that would challenge us in many different areas, one of which being the time period in which the show takes place.”
Although the production staff began planning for the show during the summer moths, auditions did not begin until the very end of August. As such, the cast only had a little over a month to string the entire show together. Despite the limited time, every member of the cast delivered a stellar performance and together put on a truly laugh-out-loud show for the packed audiences that filled into the Black Box Theatre each night.
Audience members may have recognized a number of the lead actors from the beloved comedic troupe on campus, The Mixed Signals. In fact, four of the cast members, including Friedman, belong to the group. Their comedic ability shined through in their strong acting and lively stage presence.
The best performances of the night came from the lead actors, particularly senior English and secondary education double major Steven Munoz and senior computer science and interactive multimedia double major Matthew Steuerer as the two deceitful gentlemen at the center of the play. Any and all scenes featuring these two were truly exceptional, as they played off each other very well. In addition to this lead role in the play, Steuerer also served as the show producer.
Another notable performance was the small, yet delightfully energetic, presence of freshman psychology and elementary education double major Kira Cohen, who played young Cecily.
The overall talent amongst this student cast is undeniable and evidenced by the fact that three of the four performances sold out, according to Steuerer.
“The show could not have gone any better,” Friedman said. “It’s amazing for everyone involved when shows sell out. It validates that what we are doing is something that other people enjoy.”
While only nine ACT members performed on stage, there were a total of over 40 people who worked continuously on the production staff and behind the scenes to make the show a success. The large amount of effort and time that went into the show could be seen in the great detail throughout, including the spot-on Victorian-style costumes and seamless transitions between sets.
“The entire process was a true pleasure. ACT works to put on wonderful pieces of theatre like this each and every semester,” Steuerer said. “I am continually amazed by the final products. To the cast and crew, thank you so much for giving me opportunities, friends and a home.”
Steuerer and the other members of ACT will enjoy a short break before they get back to work. Later this semester, the group will be performing “An Evening of Shorts,” followed by two other plays in the spring.
Thanks to LTV for filming the play.