Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Importance of Being Earnest

Guess what Ian and I saw last night:



I'd never seen an Oscar Wilde play before (not even a movie version) and I have to say, it was very entertaining! Sometimes I wish I were a gentleman so I could be a dandy. Like Algernon...or Chuck Bass.

I knew nothing about the play before it started which was actually quite nice...the surprise ending really was a surprise (although not hard to figure out). I found the plot and characters to be delightfully silly and the dialogue snappy and witty. The whole thing was such a wonderful satirical look at the Victorian upper class. And, you know, there were pretty dresses, although the late Victorian leg-o-mutton sleeve generally isn't my favorite.

I wonder what sort of man my Bunbury would be...and it's true, one should always eat muffins quite calmly. Read on for my favorite scene...


GWENDOLEN
I am afraid it is quite clear, Cecily, that neither of us is engaged to be married to any one.

CECILY
It is not a very pleasant position for a young girl suddenly to find herself in. Is it?

GWENDOLEN
Let us go into the house. They will hardly venture to come after us there.

CECILY
No, men are so cowardly, aren't they?

[They retire into the house with scornful looks.]

JACK
This ghastly state of things is what you call Bunburying, I suppose?

ALGERNON
Yes, and a perfectly wonderful Bunbury it is. The most wonderful Bunbury I have ever had in my life.

JACK
Well, you've no right whatsoever to Bunbury here.

ALGERNON
That is absurd. One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses. Every serious Bunburyist knows that.

JACK
Serious Bunburyist! Good heavens!

ALGERNON
Well, one must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life. I happen to be serious about Bunburying. What on earth you are serious about I haven't got the remotest idea. About everything, I should fancy. You have such an absolutely trivial nature.

JACK
Well, the only small satisfaction I have in the whole of this wretched business is that your friend Bunbury is quite exploded. You won't be able to run down to the country quite so often as you used to do, dear Algy. And a very good thing too.

ALGERNON
Your brother is a little off colour, isn't he, dear Jack? You won't be able to disappear to London quite so frequently as your wicked custom was. And not a bad thing either.

JACK
As for your conduct towards Miss Cardew, I must say that your taking in a sweet, simple, innocent girl like that is quite inexcusable. To say nothing of the fact that she is my ward.

ALGERNON
I can see no possible defence at all for your deceiving a brilliant, clever, thoroughly experienced young lady like Miss Fairfax. To say nothing of the fact that she is my cousin.

JACK
I wanted to be engaged to Gwendolen, that is all. I love her.

ALGERNON
Well, I simply wanted to be engaged to Cecily. I adore her.

JACK
There is certainly no chance of your marrying Miss Cardew.

ALGERNON
I don't think there is much likelihood, Jack, of you and Miss Fairfax being united.

JACK
Well, that is no business of yours.

ALGERNON
If it was my business, I wouldn't talk about it. [Begins to eat muffins.] It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stock-brokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.

JACK
How can you sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can't make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.

ALGERNON
Well, I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.

JACK
I say it's perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.

ALGERNON
When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins. [Rising.]

JACK
[Rising.] Well, that is no reason why you should eat them all in that greedy way. [Takes muffins from ALGERNON.]

ALGERNON
[Offering tea-cake.] I wish you would have tea-cake instead. I don't like tea-cake.

JACK
Good heavens! I suppose a man may eat his own muffins in his own garden.

ALGERNON
But you have just said it was perfectly heartless to eat muffins.

JACK
I said it was perfectly heartless of you, under the circumstances. That is a very different thing.

ALGERNON
That may be. But the muffins are the same.