The spirit of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" lends itself to being performed in the spring.
"The genre of comedy will typically side with the energy and organic impulses of the young over the perspective of their elders," said Kirby Wahl, professor of performing arts and director of Elon University's Department of Performing Arts production, which will be performed for this weekend only. "It cries out spring."
This is the second time Elon University has performed the show — the first was in the 1990s.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the McCrary Theatre on the Elon University campus.
"Deemed to be Oscar Wilde's masterwork, it's funny but sometimes dark," Wahl said. "It's a dimmer view of human nature."
Although the show is written as a three-act play, Elon University will perform it as two acts.
Also, in this show, a man will play Lady Brecknell.
Wahl appeared with Michael Tourek in Triad Stage's performance of "The Mystery of Irma Vep" in 2011. Wahl played Lord Edgar opposite Tourek as Lady Enid.
"I knew from that experience that Michael would be great in this role," Wahl said.
Tourek described Lady Bracknell as "the quintessential matriarch of the play. She is very opinionated, powerful, arrogant and can be ruthless to an extreme nature. She represents Wilde's opinion of the Victorian Era upperclass's negativity, conservative and repressive values and power."
As a father of two, Tourek said he "completely understands Lady B's drive to find the perfect husband for her daughter, but her beliefs in class, power, behavior and 'a proper marriage' are definitely not my own. But having the opportunity to live in the skin of a character almost your polar opposite both physically and emotionally is what makes playing this type of character a dream for any actor."
Teddi Shaffer, a sophomore Bachelor of Fine Arts acting major at Elon University, said that although the show is known as "a trivial comedy for serious people," it shows how "Oscar Wilde was far ahead of his times, criticizing unfair institutions that are still relevant today such as the partriarchy. The show is about a group of intransigent, self-assertive, antinomian people going after what they want, which can only result in action-packed chaotic situations. Regardless of the applicable themes and scintillating ideas, people will always enjoy 'Earnest' because it's fast, it's funny, it's smart and it's fun."
Tess Tregellas plays Mrs. Prism, the governess for Cecily.
"She teaches her German, geology, and of course, the negative repercussions to a life of pleasure," Tregellas said. "Although she is a very intelligent woman, fond of education, she is lacking in the department of love. Her love for education and the manuscript of her three-volume novel lead to implications of her mysterious past."
"I love the absurd melodramatic qualities of this show and although it highlights the absurdity, the show has so much truth and humanity," she said. "I think we all play roles in our lives and can empathize and relate to the characters of trying to fit into the expectations of society."
Tickets are $13 or free with Elon University identification.