The Importance of Being Earnest, a comedy by Oscar Wilde, will be the fall theatrical production at Keuka College.
The play will be staged Thursday- Saturday, Oct. 25-27, at 8 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Red Barn Theatre.
Directed by Professor of Theatre Mark Wenderlich, who also serves as lighting director, The Importance of Being Earnest offers a hilarious look at fun, games, and dubious ethics among the British upper crust.
Algernon Moncrieff is a slightly shady, but charming gentleman from a wealthy family who has a bad habit of throwing his money away. His close friend is Jack Worthing, a self-made man who acts as a ward to his cousin, Cecily.
Algernon has created an alter ego to help him get out of tight spots brought on by his financial improprieties, and when he learns that Jack has created a false identity of his own—Earnest, a brother living in London whose exploits have earned him no small amount of notoriety— Algernon arrives for a weekend visit in the country posing as the mysterious Earnest. Having heard of Earnest’s misadventures many times over the years, Cecily had developed something of an infatuation with the lovable rogue, and Algernon’s impersonation of him works no small degree of magic on Cecily.
Meanwhile, Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn arrives for the weekend, and is startled to discover Jack is also there—except that she knows him as bad-boy Earnest. So just who is in love with whom? How will Lady Bracknell handle the matter of daughter Gwendolyn’s suitors? And what’s the truth about Jack’s mysterious heritage?
Members of the cast include Jacob Banas (Jack Worthing); Logan Ackerley (Algernon Moncrieff); Caleigh Alterio (Gwendolen Fairfax); Katy Standinger (Cecily Cardew); Jenny Tammera (Lady Bracknell) Matthew Snyder (Lane/Rev. Chasuble); Sierra Lynch (Miss Prism); and Elijah Snipes II (Merriman).
Members of the crew include Danica Zielinski (stage manager, light board manager, and scenic designer); Damita Peace (costume designer); Dan Roach (sound designer); Stephen Funk (sound board operator); and Jessamine Qualman, Robert Hernandez, Alicia Brown, and Cheryl Walsh (crew).
The Oct. 27 performance will benefit the cast members’ 2013 trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. All tickets are $7 and will be on sale at the door. Tickets for the other three performances are $4 for Keuka students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and $7 for the general public. Seating is limited.
Question: Where can a college student discover that nothing – even outside the classroom- is “off-topic?”
Answer: Keuka College, where learning outside of class can sometimes rival learning from a seat, where everything from icons of Buddhism, to towering wind turbines, to abolitionist history, to tattoo artistry, can invite questions and spark intense discussion among students with a passion for learning and exploration.
But it has not always been so.
Keuka used to have an honor society that began fading and died out in the early 2000s, “so the last decade, we’ve had few opportunities for the intellectually curious student,” said Mike McKenzie, associate professor of religion and philosophy.
Few, that is, until 2009, when then-sophomores Stephanie Lange, Aaron Golly and Kelsey Marquart dialogued with McKenzie about starting a group that could “find a way to learn outside the typical confined classroom setting,” Lange said.
They chose the name Tabula Rasa, which is Latin for “blank slate.”
“It’s the idea that we’re sort of born a sponge and we can fill up with knowledge,” said McKenzie, citing philosopher John Locke as the founder of the concept. “To expand someone’s mind, by definition, you have to get them outside their intellectual comfort zone.”
“A lot of the classes that you take are very cerebral, and you have to work through different problems. This is a step away,” explained junior Ross Gleason of Rockingham, Vt., who is helping lead Tabula Rasa this year with junior Sarah Marquart. “What do you want to learn? Ok, go do it. It’s always more interesting to go and experience something yourself. It allows you to get a broad view.”
Indeed, Tabula Rasa has covered a wide breadth of exploration. For example, the group hosted a former Mennonite, who spoke about her experience, and later, a Buddhist shared elements and icons of that faith. They visited a winery to learn the difference between traditional and organic wines, and stood underneath giant wind turbines at a wind “farm” in Cohocton. And, they explored historic roots of the Underground Railroad during a visit to Auburn’s Harriet Tubman home, William Seward House Museum, and Fort Hill Cemetery, where Tubman is buried. A two-night visit to a private observatory for stargazing was another outing last year.
Keuka College’s fall theater production will be Lanford Wilson’s mystery Book of Days.
The play will be staged Oct. 27-30 in the College’s Red Barn Theatre. The Oct. 27 performance will benefit the cast members’ trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in January.
“It’s a revisit of small-town mid-America with conservative ethics in a crucial life-threatening situation,” said Mark Wenderlich, professor of theatre and director of the production. “It deals with not only black and white, but a lot of shades of gray of truth and how people see things.”
The story revolves around Dublin, a quiet Missouri town with more churches than bars, and a cheese factory at the center of commerce.
In today’s world, men are struggling to find their role and identify the “script” they’re supposed to follow in regards to manhood, says Jennie Joiner. In short, there’s a crisis of confusion, and it’s time to talk about it.
“If we’ve redefined feminism, we need to redefine [masculinity],” says Joiner, assistant professor of English at Keuka College. “We’re in an interesting space culturally where no one wants to step up and do that – it makes everyone uncomfortable.”
In a recent talk Joiner presented on “Lifting the Fig Leaf to Reveal Hidden Masculinities,” she explored contemporary notions of masculinity in the figurative cowboy as depicted in the novel True Grit and its two film versions. The cowboy – a specifically American icon – has always embodied the conflicting issues seen in manhood, she said.
As a mythic figure sporting the “costume bling” of chaps, boots, spurs, hat and Winchester rifle, the cowboy exhibits freedom from societal rules, structure, and family connections, while risking a reputation as a hard-drinking, gambling hell-raiser who can “blow the lights out of town,” she said. His pledge of allegiance to a ranching outfit and his commitment only to bring the cows home gives him the romantic aura of a knight on a quest, and keeps him freely roaming in a “neutral” space where he can create an identity, Joiner said.
Rabbit, a comedy by Nina Raine, will be the spring theatrical production at Keuka College.
The play will be staged Thursday–Saturday, April 14-16, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Red Barn Theatre. The April 14 performance will benefit the cast members’ 2012 trip to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).
Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Mark Wenderlich, Rabbit was first produced in London in 2007, and was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play and the London Critics’ Circle Award. (more…)