The Under the Lights cast of The Importance of Being Earnest. Photo credit: Amanda Kandasamy

From March 27th to March 29th at 6:00pm, CMC’s acting troupe, Under the Lights, will be performing their annual spring play at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. This year’s performance, Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, transports us to England during the Victorian era, when traditional social norms governed everything. Although the play is over 100 years old, the witty banter and ridiculous characters still make The Importance of Being Earnest enjoyable for a modern audience.

The three-act play follows Jack (Evan Boyer ‘19) and Algernon (Victor Panyarskiy ‘20) in their attempts to marry the women they love. Gwendolyn (Anoush Baghdassarian ‘17) eagerly accepts Jack’s proposal against the wishes of Lady Bracknell (Anthony Sidhom ‘17), and Cecily (Micaela Ferguson ‘17) has already been engaged to Algernon (Victor Panyarskiy ‘20) for months according to her diary. The only catch? Both women believe that they will be marrying a man named Ernest.

Parnyarskiy portrays the playful, charming Algernon well with his light-hearted jokes and paradoxical statements. As the more serious Jack, Boyer juxtaposes Parnyarskiy’s character well with his level-headed responses and eye rolls.

Playing the pretentious, upper-class Gwendolyn, Baghdassarian does a spectacular job acting coy and flirting with Jack, and effectively balances Gwendolyn’s knowledge of high societal expectations with Gwendolyn’s desire to do/say what she wants.

Ferguson, cast as the naive Cecily, delivers a stellar performance. She nails Cecily’s character of a young girl who keeps a diary and is obsessed with the idea of a bad boy.

Sidhom somehow manages to prance around the stage in a dress and heels, and impressively stays in character as the snobby, controlling Lady Bracknell. He deadpans Lady Bracknell’s satirical lines and leaves the audience wanting more.

As the awkward Dr. Chasuble, Julien Chien ‘17 commands the stage with his cringeworthy body language and bellowing voice. Namrata Dev ‘19 plays a shy Miss Prism through her shaky voice and insecure demeanor. Although not on stage nearly enough, Henry Minervini ‘19 solicits a lot of laughter as the character of Merriman through his subtle reactions. Finally, director Cassie Lewis ‘17 does an impeccable job both acting as the sassy Lane and directing such an entertaining play.

So hysterical that even the actors themselves have a difficult time staying in character, this two-hour production will leave you wanting more. Sign up for the Athenaeum this week to find out who’s really being earnest (or is it Ernest?).