Story: Nancye Hayes to be anything but ‘Earnest’


Importance Of Being Earnest State Theatre CompanyFor their seventh production in the 2014 season, The State Theatre Company of South Australia will present The Importance of Being Earnest. The play, Oscar Wilde’s most famous and last production, debuted on the 14th of February in 1895 in London, England at the St James Theatre.

The writing is witty, frivolous (there is really nothing earnest about it) and hilarous and for a real treat The State Theatre Company is bringing great dame of Australian theatre, Nancye Hayes to star as Lady Bracknell alongside one of Adelaide’s fastest rising stars, Nathan O’Keefe as Algernon.

Presented by the State Theatre Company in association with Envestra this production will be directed by Geordie Brookman with Assistant Direction by Yasmin Gurreeboo and design by Ailsa Paterson. The full cast includes Lucy Fry, Nancye Hayes, Caroline Mignone, Nathan O’Keefe, Yalin Ozucelik, Anna Steen and Rory Walker.

Set within the stifling conventions of Victorian England, two young bachelors have taken to bending the rules and the truth to add a dash of excitement to their lives. Jack invents a brother Ernest as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind so that he may pursue Gwendolen, the delectable daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell. Across town, Algernon decides to take the name Ernest, when visiting Jack’s young ward Cecily. When each gentleman is forced to unwind his web of lies and reveal himself – being “earnest” takes on a whole new meaning…

Company artistic director, Geordie Brookman said that the opportunity to “bring together an actor of Nancye’s stature with a bright, young star like Nathan in such an absurdly funny play was an irresistible opportunity. The production will be both sumptuous and anarchic, combining all of Wilde’s wit with Nathan’s brilliant physical comedy skills.”

Nancye Hayes (OAM) is a multi-award winning actress, achieving a Helpmann Award, Green Room Award, Norman Kessell Memorial Award, three Lifetime Achievement Awards, a Critics Circle Award and an MO Award for her past work. Nathan O’Keefe has also been recognised by the Adelaide Critics Circle with awards including the Individual Professional Award for a body of work.

The much-loved comedy of love, manners and mistaken identity has been delighting audiences for over 100 years, and will continue to do so in the Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse from the 25th of July until the 16th of August (opening night Tuesday 29 July). Following the Adelaide season, the production will tour to Canberra, Geelong and Wollongong.

Book your tickets here, and remember in the words of Oscar Wilde, "The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!"

Paul Rodda

When: 25 Jul to 16 Aug
Where: Dunstan Playhouse