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'The Importance of Being Earnest' To Open NGU's 2017-2018 Season

The North Greenville University School of Theatre will open its theatrical season next week with the most renowned of Oscar Wilde’s comedies, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The play, under the direction of professor of theatre Dr. Dale Savidge, will run September 28-30 and October 5-7 at 7:30pm nightly in Billingsley Theatre on the NGU campus.

It’s the story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women who, conveniently, claim to only love men called Ernest. The pair struggle to keep up with their own stories and become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. The elaborate plot ridicules Victorian sensibilities with some of the best loved, and indeed bizarre, characters to be found on the modern stage.

Wilde originally wrote this play in four acts, but during the first rehearsals George Alexander persuaded him to shorten it down to three.

Cast members for this production are: Evan Hamlin from Greer to play the part of Lane; Allison Yeater from Belpre, OH as Cecily Cardew; Tanner Dean from Chattanooga, TN playing Algernon Moncrieff; Ashlynn Butrovich from Somerset, KY in the role of Lady Bracknell; and Breanna Jones from Asheville, NC will play Gwendolen Fairfax.

Two students, DeAndra Watkins from South Hill, VA and Trei Turmon from Piedmont, will play the role of Dr. Chausble. Jonny Sieberhagen from Almati, Kazakhstan has been cast as Jack Worthing; Kassie Scott from Chiangmai, Thailand is Miss Prism, and Emily Smith from Kathmandu, Nepal has been cast as Merriman.

The supporting lead role of Dr. Chausble is being played by two actors. Trei Turmon, a deaf theatre major, will sign the role and his voice will be supplied by DeAndra Watkins.   

In addition, two recent NGU theatre graduates will also take part in the production.

“We are featuring the design work of two recent NGU theatre graduates,” said Savidge. “Heather Pace Steward, a 2014 alumna, is designing the costumes and Eli Carnahan, from the class of 2016, is designing the lights.”

When asked how NGU theatre productions are chosen each year. Savidge says it is a collaborative effort.

“The theatre faculty solicits ideas from students and then meets to decide on a season of plays each year,” he said.

NGU assistant professor and chair of the theatre department Amy Dunlap says they try to challenge their students. “We [theatre department] have a rotating four year production cycle to ensure that our students are exposed to a variety of theatrical styles,” she said.

When asked how Savidge was chosen to direct this play, Dunlap said, “once we decided on ‘Earnest,’ we discussed who should direct it and Dale was the best choice.”

Other shows slated for this season are:  Student Showcase October 26-28, 2017; It’s A Wonderful Life-Live Radio Play November 9-18, 2017; Senior Directed One Acts February 1-3, 2018; and close out with Disney’s Broadway hit Beauty and the Beast April 5-14, 2018.

For more information, to purchase season tickets or individual show tickets visit www.ngu.edu/theatre-season.php or contact Marnie Daniel at 864-663-0169, or marnie.daniel@ngu.edu.

              

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