An Earnest Performance: A Review of The Bronx Science Student Production of Oscar Wilde’s Classic

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Tasnim Kabir

Jack makes a grab for his case.

On opening night, the audience’s murmurs died down, as the lights dimmed and the room grew hushed in anticipation of the performance to come. The curtains opened and the set was revealed; it was charming and crisply designed. Onstage, Algernon Moncrieff (played by Aidan Gibbons ‘17) snacked on cucumber sandwiches as he confidently delivered his lines.

The lively motions of the actors’ bodies onstage truly brought this production of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play, The Importance of Being Earnest to life. Even in 2016, the audience roared with laughter at Wilde’s wordplay and witty jokes.  

The first act closed with raucous applause, and when the second act began, an elegant garden set was revealed in front of a black curtain.  The third act’s set was just as beautiful, with a new backdrop revealed for the audience’s enjoyment. “It was the first time that we had two backdrops during my time here. I’m really glad that it worked,” said the prop mistress, Noa Berman ‘17.

The motion of bodies onstage did not falter during the second half of the play.  Dramatic body language conveyed a sense of righteous indignation held by the ladies towards each other, Cecily Cardew (played by Caroline Gallagher ‘19) and Gwendoline Fairfax (played by Georgia Kester ‘17), as they believed that they were engaged to the same man. Merriman’s (played by Zeke Allis ‘19) sense of awkwardness onstage as he looked between the two ladies was tangibly felt by the audience. Later, while those around her negotiated a settlement, Gwendoline’s centerstage misery was clear, even though she merely sat.

Throughout the play, lighting shifts were employed skillfully to convey a change in mood onstage. For example, the lights became softer when Jack’s opportunity to propose arose. The sound team worked closely with the actors during rehearsal to ensure that Algernon’s off-stage piano tunes were well-timed. Although there were a few instances of Merriman’s microphone not working, the actors were unfazed, and the show went on.

The Bronx Science Drama Department put on a show that left the audience roaring with laughter and largely satisfied by the night’s end.

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