Preview of Oook!’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Eleanor Griffin from The Bubble caught up with Frankie White and Chaz Pitman at their dress rehearsal to find out more about Ooook!’s latest production, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Frankie is playing Miss Prism and Chaz is playing Jack Worthing.

Hi you two, thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I guess you’re both very busy with rehearsals…

C: Well we’re just over three weeks into rehearsals so it has been very busy, although we have been off script for two weeks so I think we all feel pretty well prepared.

So which characters you are you playing?

F: I’m playing Miss Prism, the old crazy lady…
C: And I’m Jack Worthing, which anyone who is familiar with the play will know is quite an important part!

For those who aren’t familiar with the play though, how would you describe your character in three words?

F: Crazy, old, and flirty-in-a-withheld-way.
C: Nervous, romantic, and flappable.

Oscar Wilde is a playwright many people will already be familiar with: what is it about this production that is different to versions of The Importance of Being Earnest that people may have seen before?

C: Well, we’ve gone for a traditional interpretation, and have stuck close to the script and stage directions. Our director Kate and Phillipe, who plays Algernon, are both big Oscar Wilde fans so they’ve put a lot of effort into making this production exceptional.
F: Also our set is really fancy. It’s a rotating triangle that will show a different set for each of the three acts: Algernon’s house, Jack’s garden, and inside Jack’s house.
C: Also, the girls wear some pretty tight corsets…

That sounds pretty cool! Now, many of our readers will know that Oscar Wilde writes some pretty outrageous characters: who in real life is most like their onstage persona?

F: Phillipe Bosher, who plays Algernon.
C: Well, Phillipe likes to think he’s as smooth as Algernon. I’d probably say I’m quite close to my character, Jack.

Hahaha, how are you all getting on as a cast?
C: Really well, it’s been great getting to know people from different year groups.
F: Yes, there’s at least one person from each year acting in this play which really makes it a really exciting production to be a part of.

That’s great, and how involved have the producers been?
F: They’ve been really involved right from the beginning; it’s been a good support. Things like costumes were sorted out so far in advance.
C: Yes, the producers have been excellent, going way beyond the mark. They’ve even made a trailer! (This can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/78488565.)

So there’s a lot of confusion and romance in The Importance of Being Earnest – any behind the scenes gossip for us as well?
C: Hahaha, no I don’t think so.
F: Speak for yourself! I definitely had some prolonged eye contact with John in Tesco the other day…

Well thanks very much for your time guys, I’ll let you get back to rehearsing now and I look forward to seeing it on Thursday! Keep an eye out for my review on Friday too…
F: You’re reviewing? …Did I mention how pretty you look today?
C: Can I get you a cup of tea and some cake?

Come and watch Frankie, Chaz, and the rest of the cast in The Importance of Being Earnest. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on the 7th, 8th and 9th of November. There is a matinee performance at 2:30pm on the 9th of November.
Ticket prices: general public £6; students £5.50; DST members £5
Ticket sales are in aid of Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading childrens charity.
http://www.barnardos.org.uk/.

Tickets available on the door or by booking online at www.durhamsu.com/events.

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