The Importance of Being Earnest is the most renowned of Oscar Wilde’s comedies. It’s the story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncrieff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women who, conveniently, claim to only love men called Ernest. The pair struggle to keep up with their own stories and become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. The elaborate plot ridicules Victorian sensibilities with some of the best loved, and indeed bizarre, characters to be found on the modern stage. Wilde originally wrote it in four acts, but during the first rehearsals George Alexander persuaded him to shorten it down to three.
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