See­ing what’s im­por­tant

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

FI­NAN­CIAL con­cerns forced UWA's Uni­ver­sity Dra­matic So­ci­ety to change their end-of-April pro­duc­tion two weeks into the re­hearsal pe­riod.

How­ever, there would be few com­plain­ing about the So­ci­ety's al­ter­na­tive choice, Os­car Wilde's The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Earnest.

UDS pres­i­dent and Earnest direc­tor Nina Hey­man­son said they de­cided it was bet­ter to pro­duce some­thing rather than noth­ing and although the pro­duc­tion would not be as lav­ish as Wilde prob­a­bly would have liked, they were keep­ing as much to the tra­di­tional late Vic­to­rian text as pos­si­ble.

“It's been pos­i­tive and ev­ery­one has jumped into it with quite a lot of gump­tion,” Hey­man­son said.

“They've all been ex­cited about find­ing their char­ac­ters and cre­at­ing re­la­tion­ships and the cos­tum­ing is so dif­fer­ent from any­thing we've done re­cently.

“This is the first es­tab­lished play we've staged in about five years, so peo­ple are get­ting quite ex­cited about the va­ri­ety and the dif­fer­ent kinds of char­ac­ters Os­car Wilde cre­ated.”

Ben Thomas (Clare­mont), Re­becca Egan(Leed­erville), Grace Chap­ple (Ned­lands) and Ru­pert Wil­liamson (Subiaco) play the leads in the popular far­ci­cal com­edy, which fol­lows two friends, Jack and Al­ger­non, who adopt fic­ti­tious iden­ti­ties to avoid so­cial obligations be­tween their city and coun­try lives.

Hey­man­son, who is study­ing a Bach­e­lor of Arts in English and psy­chol­ogy at UWA, plus a Di­ploma in Mod­ern Lan­guages, said she loved Wilde's wit­ti­ness.

“I have a strong love for the Bri­tish sense of hu­mour in the way that it's slightly self-dep­re­cat­ing,” she said.

“Ev­ery line said on stage was picked specif­i­cally and run over many times, and I have a lot of re­spect for that kind of a ded­i­ca­tion from any artist.”

Hey­man­son said she hoped au­di­ences would see Wilde's work for what it was: a cri­tique of the ma­te­ri­al­is­tic, su­per­fi­cial na­ture of so­ci­ety at the time.

“So while it is very funny, en­joy­able and I'm hop­ing peo­ple walk away feel­ing re­ally en­ter­tained and that they went to a good show, I want them to think a lit­tle bit as well, be­cause we also live in a very ma­te­ri­al­is­tic, mod­ern day,” she said.

“There are so many hu­man val­ues far more im­por­tant than what peo­ple wear or where they come from in so­ci­ety.”

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