By Sheena Barnett
One of theater’s most beloved romantic comedies comes to life at the Lyric next week.
Tupelo Community Theatre presents Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” the story of two bachelors who invent fictional “brothers” to allow themselves a bit more freedom. When they both create alter egos named Earnest while courting two ladies, hilarity ensues.
“This is the granddaddy of British comedy,” said director Lynn Nelson. “It’s smart, biting humor that resonates with so many people.”
It’s a favorite of Debby Gibbs, a former Tupelo High School drama teacher, who stars in the play as Lady Bracknell. Gibbs taught it every year to her students.
“It’s the Victorian version of ‘Modern Family,’” she said. “If you want to see people painted in a really ridiculous manner, come see this show.”
She likens her role to that of the Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey” – an elderly lady set in her ways with a biting sense of humor.
“She’s a typical English mother, with a bit of sarcasm – and I do love sarcasm,” Gibbs said.
Jamie Fair stars as Jack – or Earnest, depending on the scene of the play.
“He feels bad about (changing identities), but he’s so deep into it,” he said. “It’s a fun role. I’ve read this play several times. If there’s a role I’d really like to do, I’m choosing this one.”
• What: Tupelo Community Theatre presents “The Importance of Being Earnest”
• When: 7:30 p.m. March 20-22, 2 p.m. March 22
• Where: The Lyric
• Cost: $18/adults, $6/students
• Info: (662) 844-1935
• “The Importance of Being Earnest” cast: Jamie Fair (Jack Worthing); Lesley Tackett (Cecily Cardew); J.N. West (Algernon Mocrieff); Katelyn Stieg (Gwendolen Fairfax); Debby Gibbs (Lady Bracknell); Allana Austin (Miss Prism); Rufus VanHorn (Dr. Chasuble); Jason Pannell (Lane); Nathan Taylor (Merriman)