Joe Spady as Algnernon Moncrieff, left, and Devin Boyle as Jack Worthing rehearse a scene from the Kenai Performers’ production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Kalifornsky, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Performers)

Joe Spady as Algnernon Moncrieff, left, and Devin Boyle as Jack Worthing rehearse a scene from the Kenai Performers’ production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Kalifornsky, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Performers)

‘A trivial show for very serious people’

Kenai Performers takes on Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”

The Kenai Performers are trying their hand at 19th-century farce with “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which debuts Thursday.

Amy Burton, the director of the play, said she has wanted to do the piece since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because who doesn’t need a good laugh right after the last two years?” she said.

The play, written by Oscar Wilde in the late 1800s, follows characters through Victorian London as they ironically explore themes of honesty and truth. As Burton put it, it’s “a trivial show for very serious people.”

“Oscar Wilde is very funny. He has a lot of witty remarks in this show about life in general, about intellectuals, about high society,” Burton said. “So it’s all kind of in this fun little show that if you really were to analyze, (you) would probably not come to much except pure and fun entertainment.”

Terri Zopf-Schoessler plays Lady Bracknell, the leading female character of the show, whose primary concern is people’s appearances.

“She’s a bucket list for me,” Zopf-Schoessler said. “I taught AP English for years and always did this play and I think it’s hysterically funny.”

To her, the comedic element of the show has been enjoyable.

“We say the most ridiculous things, absolutely seriously,” Zopf-Schoessler said. “And the whole essence of comedy is the gap between how one sees oneself and how the audience sees you. And these are big gaps.”

Joe Spady has also been a fan of the play for a long time. He plays Algernon Moncrieff, Lady Bracknell’s trivial nephew.

“It’s a character that I’ve been obsessed with for well over a decade,” Spady said.

He watched the show first while he was in college and said the opportunity to audition for a role this spring was “incredible.”

The language, Spady said, has been the hardest to master. The dialogue contains a lot of extended sentence structure and British vernacular.

“It’s just now that we’ve really gotten to that place that we’re getting this word perfect, that we’re able to enjoy this crazy language and the world Oscar has invited for us to live in,” he said.

The play, with its three acts and three set changes, debuts at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The show will run for the next two weekends, Thursday through Sunday, with Thursday through Saturday shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available on kenaiperformers.org or at the door. The Performers are also accepting donations at the playhouse behind the Subway on Kalifornsky Beach Road to retrofit the building’s electrical system.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read