The Importance of Being Earnest, Wild Rice Productions

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It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?

Words cannot begin to describe the stomach-aching, cheek-muscle-straining, giddiness-inducing two hours of utter enjoyment that Wild Rice’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest brought to the house. It was simply astounding; the  characters buzzed with life as they threw around sparkling witticisms and humorous jokes- the hilarity was relentless and left the audience gasping for laughter throughout the entire play. It is hard to imagine how far Singapore’s dramatic scene has progressed: the diverse talents and polychromatic acts never cease to amaze me.

This, however, surpassed all else.

Perhaps it is the brilliance of Wilde’s words that allow the actors to shine; the ingenuity of the plot that elucidates the talent of the cast; the ostentatious outrageousness of the characters that highlight the performers’ flair. Whatever. There was no weak link- every single one of the actors possessed a brimming energy and panache; elegance and poise whilst emanating scandalous glamor and style.

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

I loved this play the moment I set my eyes on it [Original blog post: The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde]. The baby-faced irony, the light-hearted yet utterly critical underlying tones under the swash of farcical humor- it was too good to be true.

The production of it was even better- especially with the all-male cast. The effeminate hair flicks and prissy leg-crossing of Gwendolyn [Chua Enlai, the Noose!] and Cecily [Gavin Yap] were hilarious, and the synchronization of their actions was absolutely impeccable. The amusement arising from their flouncing about with diaries and hysterical intermittent camaraderie and hostility was absolutely uproarious. The good-natured bickering banter kept up between Algernon [Brendon Fernandez] and Jack [Daniel York] brought endless amusement. And then, of course, our dearest Lady Bracknell, in her infuriatingly commanding presence of flamboyant red and brazen gaudy colors- Ivan Heng.

The absurdity and riotousness of it all was breathtaking.

“You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter – a girl brought up with the utmost care – to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?”

I could go on quoting forever and ever- turns out that I watched the Saturday matinee and a good friend of mine Claire watched the evening show, so the TIoBE quoting storm has swept through our feeds. Funny how Singapore is so ridiculously small- I saw seven of my teachers at the theatre.

Of course, we can’t forget the quartet that brought captivating classical music to the beginnings of each act- it brought a nice, fitting touch to the play and added a little bit of flair (as well as the cucumber sandwiches yubberdubdub.) Food for thought.

And as if the production itself was not delightfully funny enough, the couple behind me seemed to espouse the humorous ignorance of the play as I left the theatre (except, this time, they were painfully unaware of it unlike the good self-humor of the characters in the play).

Boy: ‘That was good.’

Girl: ‘Yeah.’

Boy: ‘Have you read the book before?’

Girl: ‘Um, no…. But, um- I read Macbeth!’

The laughter that gripped me struggled not to escape as a amused chortle. It was funny enough that he had referred to the play as a book, but when the girl compared this light-hearted, farcical Wilde comedy to the tragic, Shakespearean Macbeth- well, suffice to say the discipline became too much of a challenge. I felt terrible afterwards for laughing at their ignorance- but after all it’s all in good fun.

I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.

Briliance, encapsulated in sharp, irreplaceably witty lines. [Can we watch it again?]

Wild Rice, Wilde. That, was simply wild.

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