The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is set in England in the 1890’s is a comedy of manors; it is regarded by many as Oscar wilds masterpiece. Wild uses Epigrams and paradoxes to mock in earnest the upper class Victorians and often most if not all of Wilds witticisms lie in the complete reversal of what someone might expect to say or be told. This type of comedy is a common theme in the Victorian melodrama or sentimental comedy deriving from the French variety of the well made play.
The Importance of Being Earnest opened on the 14th of February 1895 to critical acclaim. I will be discussing the two garden scenes’. I would play the role of Cecily by using vocal, physical skills and the use of space. Cecily would walk feet first no noise first, so I would do this to show that she is not conformed to high society and in truly innocent.
Accent is very important when playing the role of Cecily, I would use a Victorian accent but not an upper class one, this will show that she is neither snobbish or demeaning, tone is also an important skill to be considered because Cecily although very young does have a worldly sense and knows when Algernon is trying to seduce her, “in not really wicked at all Cecily”. If I was to use Laben techniques I would describe Cecily as Gliding, her clothes would be cotton and not starched to show that she has flowing movements and is not jaunted.
It is understood that in the first act Algernon decides to visit Jack house in the country to meet his ward Mrs Cecily Cardew, who he is affection towards. Algernon is introduced as Jacks younger Brother, Earnest. The 2nd scene opens with Cecily and her Guardian Mrs Prism discussing her German Lesions. I as Cecily am pouting because, “I don’t like German, it isn’t at all a becoming language”. I am sitting on an outside bench pouting, I am trying to appeal to Mrs Prism’s good nature, I would do this by pursing my lips raising my tone of voice and speaking softly.
When Algernon enters Cecily’s mood changes she comments from a self indulgent innocent to something more devious, I comment “I have never met any one really wicked before, I feel rather frightened” while saying this she is rolling her ‘RR’s’ and smiling, giving the line a somewhat seductive tone. As soon as Algernon enter she stands up turns away from Algernon and blushes, hands behind her back and as Algernon introduces himself she smiles and conveys to the audience by rubbing her hands together with glee as she knows that Algernon is putty in her hand.
When she is placing the Rose on his shirt my hand shake and Cecily’s breathing would be staggered, my eyes would be lowered so as not make contact with Algernon’s buy they invariably will so that there is a point where Algys and Cecily eyes meet and then suddenly I turn away and walk Down Stage Left forcing Algernon to follow me, this gives the audience a sense that I am toying with him.
When are hands touch as we are leaving I would move slightly closer towards him and we exit stage right further cementing our relationship, I will allow Algernon to lead me out of the room as I am quite comfortable with the idea of marring him. In this scene, John, Cecily’s guardian has just returned from town, he is dressed in mourning clothes and is talking to Ms Prism and Dr Chasuble, Cecily bounds in and unbeknown to her Jack has just told everyone the his brother earnest is dead (this is a lie).
I Bound into the room almost skipping with delight and have a broad smile on my face, “Brother John you’re back” using tone I would say this line with astonishment and delight, I would do this by separating “Brother John” and “your back”. Uncle John does not smile at me while I clutch his chest to show my affection. I then step back and inform him “What horrid clothes have on”, I say this in jest and am giggling slightly to show the audience that I think he has had trouble dressing. I inform him that “brother earnest” is here and he looks shock, I smile because he tells me that “I haven’t got a brother”.
I state that “he’s in the dining room” and am beaming because I think that I have done a brilliant task and am ringing my hand with joy, Jack still looks shocked so I skip of stage right, right foot first and go to get Earnest. Cecily is a vital role in The importance of Being Earnest and used a raft of dramatic skills to portray her chirpy character, these skills include; tone, accent, dress, physical skills and the use of space. By using these skills including pause, Cecily will allow the audience to read between the lines and find humour in almost every single sayable.