Centennial High's Earnest
John M. Valdez, PPAG Reviewer
I had always wondered why my father disliked his middle name Earnest. I used to tell him that it was a good name. Oscar Wilde wrote an entire play dedicated to that name. It did not sway him. But like many of Wilde’s writings The Importance of Being Earnest, produced by Centennial High School Friday night is about more than what appears on the surface.
The players did justice to one of this reviewer’s favorite playwrights. The Importance of Being Earnest is a story riddled with many social misunderstandings. It is undoubtedly one of the finest satires of Victorian manners and customs ever written. As the play opens we meet the two main characters. Jack (Earnest) Worthing played by Antonio Faloona. And Agernon (Algie) Moncreiff played by Leny Samora. Both were terrific and captured the deviants with charm and grace. Just as one might imagine Mr. Wilde had in mind when he wrote the play.
We learn that they both enjoy living double lives. This is in order to be naughty men on the side yet still maintain their place in society. A society, that sadly Wilde was never a part of himself. But as with most plans they go awry when the men fall in love with two sweet and innocent young ladies.
“Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone.” This great quote from the play seems to sum it up quickly. The characters only appear to be exciting and likeable when kept in ignorance, once revealed they tend to lose their charm. This show however is charming from start to finish. The moment the delightful Rasmus Hagn-Meincke as Lane steps on stage and steals a cucumber sandwich the good size crowd was entranced.
Although a few of the actors struggled to keep the dialogue crisp and clear. Overall it was smooth. My recommendation to the cast is to speak slower. Jennifer Smith was wonderful as the pleasant Gwendolyn Fairfax. Her costumes were the most stunning of the whole cast. Crossing center stage and speaking as if in a soliloquy when not necessary was however distracting at times. Anybody familiar with acting in this town will know the name Mattoon. The family has a long history of actors. The latest addition is the young Phoebe. She most definitely has the acting gene. Her performance as the witty and kept Cecily was one of the best performances of the night. She will be one to watch in the future.
As with any production there are always standouts. This play was no exception. The best part of the night was the outstanding and amazing performance of Tori Garduno as the grumpy and snooty Lady Bracknell. She captured the snobbiness of the character perfectly. One could see touches of Jane Austen’s Lady Catherine Deburg in her portrayal. She was amazing to watch. The only part of the night that needed work was the
lighting and sound. At times the house lights were left on and it tended to take away from the show. A great job all around to the cast and crew at Centennial High School. The show will continue Saturday April 30, at 2 and 7pm at Centennial.