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Theatre productions at College of Lake County (CLC) continue to thrive and evolve despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a trivial comedy for serious people, will be performed live virtually on Zoom Feb. 26-28 and March 4-6 for free.
Director Brian Gill is excited to confront the virtual boundaries and adapt this wonderfully silly comedy of manners to all who need their spirits lifted. The brilliant storyline follows the antics of two upper-class bachelors, Jack and Algernon, as they pursue true love. Both men take the alias of “Earnest” in order to capture the women of their dreams. They quickly discover maintaining double identities is quite complicated, and when the plan unravels, comedic chaos ensues.
“This play is considered Wilde’s masterpiece and probably his best-known play,” said Gill.
Photo: the cast of The Importance of Being Earnest. Top left, Jeff Brain - top right, Helen Murphy - bottom left, Ashley Marie Rodriguez - bottom right, Helen Harold.
One of the challenges faced by the enthusiastic cast during rehearsals was conveying the humor and depicting the action and energy through Zoom, where, as Brian points out, “everybody is trapped in their little Brady Bunch Box.” Though Zoom definitely limits interaction and movement, cast and crew continually push their creative boundaries with ways to engage and surprise the audience.
One example is the passing of props between cast members. Since all the actors are in their own homes, this requires quite a bit of creativity. Gill believes the numerous transfers of props will give viewers a sense of magic occurring right before their eyes.
Ashley Rodriguez, a cast member and CLC alumna, seemed to share some of those sentiments.
“Right now, the arts need the support of community to enjoy this production at home,” said Rodriguez. “It is giving actors, directors, costume designers, etc. a feeling of pride through bringing joy to people.”
Rodriguez also mentioned how fulfilling it is to see the alumni of CLC working with the students to help them realize where they can go with their career. Overall, she feels it has been a great support system and wonderful place to come back to because you continue to learn and evolve as an actor.
“We are so fortunate to have talented alumni and community members generously sharing their experience with our students,” said Chair of CLC’s Theatre Program Craig Rich. “The talent and professionalism they bring helps to prepare our students for successful careers in theatre.”
While many are anxious to restart live performances, there is an excitement to bring virtual entertainment into patrons’ homes as the next best option. Cast and crew are thrilled to have this experience, and it shows in their creative and boundless work.
Register for free online at www.clcillinois.edu/arts.
About College of Lake County:
College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.
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