Students present modern take on “The Importance of Being Earnest” Nov. 16-19

November 7, 2023
By: Andrea Binnick

Worcester State University’s Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Department stages Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a treasured comedy that is celebrated as one of the wittiest plays in the English language, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, in Fuller Theater, located on the second floor of the Administration Building. The show continues at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 17, and Saturday, November 18, and concludes with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 19.

The amusing play about two young couples and their pursuit of love makes fun of the shallowness of the rules that society creates for behavior in life and love. While the production first premiered in 1895, Worcester State Theatre designers say that Fuller Theater guests can look forward to some fresh, modern twists.

“Oscar Wilde was relentless in poking fun at the ridiculousness of English society, and while we live in America in the 21st century, some of our own behavior is just as ridiculous,” said Worcester State Theatre professor Adam Zahler, director of the fall production. “So it’s not a big jump from 1890 to 2023 if you just look at how silly we can be. Our production attempts to bridge those 130 years, keeping the spirit of the original with a wink at the modern.”

In this digital era, audiences can also expect the incorporation of the role of social media in today’s dating scene from a creative and talented group of Worcester State cast and crew members.

Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for general admission. To purchase tickets online for the show, visit To purchase tickets in person, visit the Worcester State Student Center Information Desk or contact the VPA Box Office at 508-929-8843 or to make a reservation. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Worcester State Theatre productions feature diverse styles that range from comedy to drama to tragedy, providing students with a variety of performance experience.

The Importance of Being Earnest cast members and roles include:

  • English and art major Rhiannon Mansur ’26 as Algernon
  • Theatre and communications major Ryann Jerome ’23 as Jacq
  • Theatre major Chantel Gonzalez ’25 as Gwendolen
  • English major Jaclyn Morrison ’26 as Cecily
  • Theatre and communications major Jody Diaz ’26 as Lady Bracknell
  • Early childhood major Quinn Willshire-Rogers ’27 as Prism
  • Theatre major John McAuliffe ’27 as Dr. Chasuble
  • Environmental science major Celina Moore ’27 as Lane
  • Business administration major Stephen Nganga ’27 as Merriman

VPA’s Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program immerses students in a 39-credit program of study that includes an extensive variety of theatre courses, performances, and other hands-on, lab-based experiences with productions such as The Importance of Being Earnest.

Top Photo: The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest: Top: Celina Moore, Rhiannon Lee Mansur, Ryann Jerome. Middle: Jody Diaz, Chantel Elektra Gonzalez, Quinn Willshire-Rogers. Bottom: Jaclyn Morrison, John McAuliffe, Steven Nganga.

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