AU Press Releases

‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ set for run on Alfred University stage

The Alfred University Performing Arts Division will present its final production of the season, “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, Wednesday through Saturday, April 14-17, in the CD Smith III Theatre, Miller Performing Arts Center.

Performances will start at 8 p.m. General admission is $5. Reservations are recommended and may be made by e-mailing or by calling 607.871.2828.

Wilde wrote “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1895. The comedy almost defines Victorian English manners energetically by defying them. The play runs through the upper crust of society where two young men plan to be christened Earnest because the young women whom they wish to wed refuse to marry, by their own sweet testimonies, no other than a man named Earnest. All four lovers romp through the social rules, bending arguments and ethics to accelerate their urgent plans, much to the chagrin of that bastion of blue bloods – Lady Bracknell.

Dr. Becky Prophet, professor of theater, is director of the production. Also on the production team are students Michelle Courter, costume designer from Centereach, NY; Dan Meltzer, lighting designer, Wilton, NH; Zach Grosser, sound designer, Corning; as well as Marketa Fantova, AU professor of theater, who will design the scenery. Staff members Zach Hamm, technical director, and Debra MacCrea, the costume shop manager, will create the costumes and props, while Nancy Freelove, secretary for Performing Arts, provides clerical support.

Additional student staff includes Kim Rau from North Hampton, MA is the stage manager. Amanda Lynch of Huntington, NY, and Jonathan Ugalde of Johnstown, NY, are assistant managers. Allison Cotte from Baldwinsville, NY is props mistress; she is assisted by Elin Dehuvyne from Davis, CA.

The cast consists of all AU students. Alegernon, played by Jack Styles, a sophomore from Ashfield, MA, is served by Lane, played by Ned Allen, a sophomore from Durham, CT. Jack Worthing (a.k.a. Earnest) is played by junior English major Justin Pietropaolo from Goshen, NY. His most dear love Gwendolen Fairfax is created by first-year student Kate Truini from Roxbury, CN. Her foil Cecily Cardew, also Jack’s ward, is played by Keriann Bellamy, a first-year student from Olean.

Merriman, also Worthing’s butler, runs the house in the country and is played by Nathan Gibson from Crystal Lake, IL. Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism, is created by Kari Aldrich, a senior English major from Franklin, MA. The Rev. Chasuble is played by Jonathan Hamolsky from Rindge, NH. Lady Augusta Bracknell, the controlling and commanding arbiter of behavior, will be performed by Anna Kowalczuk, a junior theater major from Scarsdale, NY.

Prophet has spent nearly three decades teaching and working in theater. After earning a bachelor of arts degree in English from Alfred University, a master of arts degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, she acted, directed, and taught in Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Atlanta before returning to her alma mater.

Prophet honors and works in all styles of theater, but gives preference to theater that presses for social and political change; she is an expert in the theater of Bertolt Brecht.

Earlier this year, Prophet received the Gold Medallion from her colleagues in the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival for her service to the organization’s Region Two.