[Montreal, October 6, 2008] – The 2009 English graduating class of the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) is proud to present the first production of its 2008-2009 season, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Brendan Healy (Directing 2005), from October 21 to 25 at the Monument-National’s Hydro-Quebec Studio.
A satire of Victorian social hypocrisy, The Importance of Being Earnest is considered Wilde's greatest dramatic achievement. Director Brendan Healy captures the absurdity, offering a contemporary Earnest that expands upon Wilde’s view of late Victorian society while also honouring the text’s original brilliance.
Jack Worthing is a noble Englishman who lives in the countryside along with his ward, Cecily. In order to justifiably dash off to London now and again, Jack has created a fictional persona, Earnest, a mischievous brother whom he must continuously visit to save from trouble. The real reason, of course, that Jack visits London is because he is in love with the beautiful Gwendolen Fairfax. Gwendolen, however, believes that Jack’s name is Earnest – the most beautiful name in the entire world! Her mother, Lady Bracknell, is initially pleased with the pairing but soon objects to their marriage when she learns that Mr. Worthing is an orphan who was found in a handbag at Victoria Station. Meanwhile, when Jack’s best friend – Algernon, who is also Gwendolen’s cousin – discovers his friend’s double identity, he too begins to use it to his advantage. Algernon also takes on the roll of Earnest, but this time with Jack’s ward Cecily. Cecily has never met Earnest, but finds herself helplessly drawn to this mysterious brother of Jack’s who she has heard so much about.
About the director
Brendan Healy is originally from Montreal where he began his career as an actor. He appeared, most notably, in an acclaimed production of Greg MacArthur's Girls!Girls!Girls!, directed by Peter Hinton and presented at the 2001 Festival de théâtre des Amériques. It was at this festival that Brendan met Richard Maxwell from the internationally renowned New York City Players. This meeting led Brendan to New York City where he interned under Mr. Maxwell and became interested in directing. In New York, Brendan studied under Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. After graduating from the National Theatre School’s Directing program in 2005, Brendan settled in Toronto. Recent productions include: the Dedicated to the Revolutions series (Small Wooden Shoe, Buddies in Bad Times, Passe Muraille); A Thought in Three Parts (SummerWorks 2007); Dying to be Sick (Pleiades, National Arts Centre); the multiple Dora-nominated Breakfast (Independent Auntie, Theatre Centre) and Fewer Emergencies (SummerWorks 2008). Brendan (as a member of Small Wooden Shoe) was recognized as one of Toronto’s top theatre artists of 2007 by NOW Magazine and received the Ken McDougall award for emerging director. He is the associate artist at Crow’s Theatre. Starting in 2009, Brendan will be starting a two-year residency as a member of the Soulpepper Academy.
The 2008-2009 season of public performances of the NTS graduating class is a fine opportunity to catch future artists of the Canadian stage in action just before the beginning of their professional careers. Graduating actors, playwrights, directors, designers and production personnel work year round with professional guest directors to present a varied season that will hone the skills and talents of these new artists.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Brendan Healy (Directing, 2005)
With: Lauryn Allman, Julia Course, Alexander Furber, Patrick Lundeen, John Douglas MacAuley, Philippa Mackie, James MacLean, Alexander Mc Cooeye, Kathryn Elizabeth Swift
Design/ Production Team: Kathryn Chamney (Production Manager), Leigh Gillam (Costume Designer), Chiharu Ono (Lighting & Sound Designer), Sean Poole (Stage Manager), Jose R. Valdes R. (Technical Director) and Kate Whitehead (Set Designer)