The Prescott Center for the Arts is going Wilde with a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” directed by Julie Harrington in her first time directing on the main stage.
Harrington said she really appreciated the Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde’s wit and social commentary. This show is the basis for a lot of the humor people love today, she said.
“Even going back to Monty Python, I think that kind of poking fun at things, really making serious points, but in a humorous way, is very important,” Harrington said. “I think things like ‘The Daily Show’ and some of the late night and ‘SNL’ and those things … can be traced back through that kind of theater as political commentary, but doing it in a lighter way, so that you hear it in a different way.”
Harrington said that what she loves most about theater is the rehearsal process and getting to collaborate with talented people and nurture their creative process as they discover things about their character and the play, she said. Together, they come up with things neither she nor them could do by themselves, Harrington said.
At the same time, however, challenges can arise in collaboration among artistic personalities, she said.
“I think my aim as the director is to steer the ship toward the port,” Harrington said. “If we kept our eyes on the prize, which is keeping faithful to Oscar Wilde’s words, keeping faithful to a vision. I think that all helped overcome those obstacles.”
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, Friday, March 2, Saturday, March 3, Thursday, March 8, and Saturday, March 10. Matinees are at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11. At the 7:30 p.m. shows, tickets are $17 for youth and $22 for adults. At the 2 p.m. matinees, tickets are $14 for youth and $18 for adults.
Tickets are available at www.pca-az.net or at the door.
The show has authentic, Victorian furniture and items as set dressings, including a zebra skin rug made of real zebra skin, Harrington said. In Wilde’s time, such ornate interior details were usual among the upper classes. The goal was to be as authentic as possible, she said.
There was a lot of hard work to be authentic in not only the set, but in the mannerisms of the actors, including how they move and sit, Harrington said.
“We had tea lessons, for instance, on how to take tea properly,” she said. “We had a vocal and dialect coach from England to help us all along the entire process, making sure we were pronouncing things because we wanted to be as authentic as possible.”
Harrington said she’s excited to have gotten a chance at doing “The Importance of Being Earnest” for Prescott. This production can stand up to any production anywhere because of the work the actors have put in and their level of talent, she said.
Prescott Center for the Arts is located at 208 N. Marina St. for more information, call 928-445-3286.