‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ opens this week at Dunham

Sometimes people think a small lie won’t build up into a bigger and bigger lie, but Oscar Wilde’s play, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” tells a different — and usually true — story.

The comical play opens this week as SIUE Theater and Dance Department’s first main play of the season. The two main characters change their names just to have some fun and end up meeting two women who fall in love with them because of their names. The two men must lie and lie again so the women don’t find out they lied about their names.

The play is wittier than opposed to an outright comic farce of a play, said Peter Cocuzza, chair of the theater and dance department.

“Well of course Earnest the name and earnest the word have different meanings,” he said. “My name is Earnest and I can be earnest, meaning truthful. So there’s a comment that Oscar Wilde’s making: you’re better off just telling the truth, and in the end it’s all going to work out.”

The play uses puns and double entendres to uphold its humor throughout. Cocuzza said that people may never understand some of the humor or references in the play because of the time period shift, but the themes and the basis of the play are still applicable to every day life.

“If you actually want to read into it, not a lot has changed in the way we view things and view people,” he said.

The Importance of Being Earnest opens at Dunham Hall this Wednesday, Oct. 12 and starts at 7:30 p.m. every day after that until Sunday, Oct. 16. The play starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Box Office in Dunham. Students can attend for free, adults pay $10 and all others pay $8. The box office can be reached at 618-650-2774.

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