The Company

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest Directed by Alan Wade

15 October - 18 October 2008


"The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde premiered on February 14th 1895 at the St. James Theatre in London. It is a witty and buoyant comedy of manners and is brilliantly plotted from its effervescent first act to its hilarious denouement. The play is filled with some of literature's most famous epigrams and is widely considered Wilde's most perfect work.


John ("Jack") Worthing
In love with Gwendolen. Bachelor. Adopted when very young by Thomas Cardew
Algernon ("Algy") Moncrieff
First cousin of Gwendolen. Bachelor. Nephew of Lady Bracknell
Lady (Augusta) Bracknell
Needs no introduction
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax
daughter of Lady Bracknell
Cecily Cardew
granddaughter of Thomas Cardew and ward of Jack Worthing. Lives at Jack's country house in Hertfordshire
Miss Laetitia Prism
governess to Cecily
Rev Canon Frederick Chasuble, D.D.
a minister who lives near Jack’s country house
butler to Algernon
butler to Jack

Quotes from the play:

When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people.
Jack, act 1.
Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
Algernon, act 1.
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. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Lady Bracknell, act 1.
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
Algernon, act 1.
The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her, if she is pretty, and to some one else, if she is plain.
Algernon, act 1.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
Gwendolen, act 2.
The chin a little higher, dear. Style largely depends on the way the chin is worn. They are worn very high, just at present.
Lady Bracknell, act 3.
London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.
Lady Bracknell, act 3.
Gwendolen, 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?
Jack, act 3.