Open Auditions: The Importance of Being Earnest

November 4-6, 11-13, 2022

Thursday, August 11, 4-6
Friday, August 12, 10-12
Monday, August 15, 5:30-7:30
If you need a different audition time, let Annie know.

Please bring your calendars so you can enter conflict dates on the audition form.
You’ll be asked to read scenes from the script.
English accents are not required.

Williamsville Hall, Dover Rd., Williamsville

Annie Landenberger, director,

Late August-Late October: twice weekly, on average, for leads; once weekly for supporting players; TECH WEEK: October 30-November 3; Open November 4.

John Worthing, a carefree young gentleman, is the inventor of a fictitious brother, “Ernest,” whose wicked ways afford John an excuse to leave his country home from time to time and journey to London, where he stays with his close friend and confidant, Algernon Moncrieff. Algernon has a cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax, with whom John is deeply in love. During his London sojourns, John, under the name Ernest, has won Gwendolen’s love, for she strongly desires to marry someone with the confidence-inspiring name of Ernest. But when he asks for Gwendolen’s hand from the formidable Lady Bracknell, John finds he must reveal he is a foundling who was left in a handbag at Victoria Station. This is very disturbing to Lady Bracknell, who insists that he produce at least one parent before she consents to the marriage. Returning to the country home where he lives with his ward Cecily Cardew and her governess Miss Prism, John finds that Algernon has also arrived under the identity of the nonexistent brother Ernest. Algernon falls madly in love with the beautiful Cecily, who has long been enamored of the mysterious, fascinating brother Ernest. With the arrival of Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen, chaos erupts. It is discovered that Miss Prism is the absent-minded nurse who twenty years ago misplaced the baby of Lady Bracknell’s brother in Victoria Station. Thus John, whose name is indeed Ernest, is Algernon’s elder brother, and the play ends with the two couples in a joyous embrace.

John “Jack” Worthing is the play’s most sympathetic character. He was found in a handbag on a railway line, and feels less at home in aristocratic society than does Algernon. He lives in the country but has invented a wicked brother named “Ernest” whose scrapes require Jack’s attendance in the city. (age 20-40, or passing as such)

Algernon Moncrieff, the foil to Jack, is a hedonist who has created a friend named Bunbury whose status as a permanent invalid allows Algernon to leave the city whenever he pleases. He believes this activity, “Bunburying,” is necessary, especially if one is going to get married-something he vows never to do. (age 20-40, or passing as such)

Lady Bracknell is the antagonist of the play, blocking both potential marriages. She embodies typical Victorian classism; she does not allow Gwendolen to marry Jack when she finds out he is an orphan, and she dislikes Cecily as a mate for her nephew Algernon until she learns that Cecily is wealthy. (age 45+ or passing as such)

Gwendolen Fairfax is Lady Bracknell’s daughter, and is the object of Jack’s romantic attention. Though she returns his love, Gwendolen appears self-centered and flighty. Like Cecily, she desires nothing but to marry someone named Ernest. . (age twenties, thirties

Cecily Cardew Cecily is Jack’s ward and lives with him in the country. Young and pretty, she is favored by Algernon, who pretends to be Jack’s brother Ernest. Cecily has heard about this brother, and has written correspondences between the two of them for months by the time she meets Algernon/Ernest. Like Gwendolen, she is only interested in marrying a man named Ernest. (age: teens-twenties—or passing as such)

Miss Prism Miss Prism is the Cecily’s governess. She obviously loves Chasuble, though the fact that he is a priest prohibits her from telling him so directly. (age –older, or passing as such)
Lane Algernon’s butler delivers a number of droll lines which show that he is far from a passive servant. (any age, gender)

Chasuble A rector, Chasuble frequently visits Jack’s country house to see Miss Prism. Though he is celibate, he seems well matched for the educated Miss Prism. (age –older, or passing as such)

Merriman Jack’s butler, Merriman has a less significant role than Lane has, but in one scene he and another servant force the bickering Gwendolen and Cecily to maintain supposedly polite conversation. (any age, gender)

Also needed: assistant director, seamstresses (-ers?), scene painters, lights, musicians for live incidental music.