The Free Dictionary defines Earnest thusly:
Showing or expressing sincerity or seriousness:
The paradox of Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest is that there is nothing serious about it- except that it is earnestly mocking the shallow social morays of late 19th century England. The play includes all of the entangling issues of two young gentlemen using false names wish to marry different young ladies while questions of origin and unyielding loyalty to a first name keep them from matrimony.
As expected from the white Wilde, hilarity ensues. As expected from the company at American Shakespeare Center, that hilarity is deftly executed.
The entire cast was great but my favorite performance was Susie Parr’s Cecily Cardew (odd- since I am partial to Gwendolyn Fairfax whom I depicted in a High School production.) Parr’s delightful innocence and naivete served the play perfectly, making her mercurial moods believable as they are silly.
This is a wonderfully simplified version of a great classic that everyone should see.