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Shorecrest Gone Wilde: Students Talk about Shorecrest’s Play

     “For real though, [I] probably wouldn’t go unless I knew about the incest,” sophomore Gia Bessolo said about the Upper School Fall Play, The Importance of Being Earnest. A lack of marketing around interesting abstract, gloomy themes, has historically prevented the student body from engaging fully with the Shorecrest Theatre Department.     

     The Importance of Being Earnest comedically explores domestic life in Britain in the 1800s.  The play has proved to be a divisive topic. Many teachers believe that its value lies within the genius of Oscar Wilde, the playwright, while a majority of students believe The Importance of Being Earnest is a load of British baloney. 

     US Math Teacher Paul Goodland said “Wilde was the Steven Spielberg of his time!” In contrast, sophomore AJ Diaz said that he is “not very likely” to see the play and thinks that other students will agree because it’s about Britain in the 1800s. He said, “I pretty much only know that there was slavery [in America] and [Britain] wanted to get back at [America] for taking a whack at them.” 

     Due to a lack of knowledge, plays set centuries ago sometimes seem irrelevant to modern audiences. And unfortunately, many high schoolers do not endeavor to spend their evenings enriched in historical perspectives. 

     Last year’s fall play, Lord of the Pies—an abstract comedy about human nature had low attendance. Bessolo said, “I didn’t really have a reason to go because none of my friends were in it.” Bessolo also said that she “would go if the play was more popular, like a production that a lot of people knew.” The audience for Lord of the Pies was largely made up of the close family and friends of cast members. 

     There’s concern for a similar reaction to The Importance of Being Earnest. Few students know what the show is about and when it’s being produced. It’s curious that when explaining the plot, thick with incest and identity theft, Diaz said, “I would definitely go.” That leaves the question, does the Shorecrest Theatre Department need to market better towards the Upper School students to gain attention?

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