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Gering High players to mount comedy of manners classic
October 03, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Gering High School theatre director Jason DeMaranville (center) rehearses a scene from the Oscar Wilde comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest” featuring Keagan Heilbrun and Allie Baird.

This November, Gering High School drama students will present Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of manners “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

“Without giving too much of it away, it’s a fun show that has mistaken identities,” said Director Jason DeMaranville. “It also has a love interest and a plot twist at the end that makes it funny.”
He added that “Earnest” was a good show for the cast he has. Several of them read sections of the play in class for a dramatic literature presentation, so they were familiar with the action.

“That makes things easier for me because the kids have already been through it and understand what’s going on,” he said.

Nine main characters make up the show, and DeMaranville said he had about 18 people show up for auditions. “I was pleased with the number of people who showed up, although there are only four female parts. It was unfortunate I had to turn some of them away.”

DeMaranville, who has directed the fall play at Gering for the past 23 years, said he likes to do both comedy and the heavier drama, although students usually prefer lighter material. In addition to comedies like “Fools” and “Harvey,” some of the dramas he’s directed included “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Canterbury Tales.”

Two cast members are younger students. Sophomore Allie Baird, who was in the musical “Tintypes” last spring as a freshman, is playing the role of Cecily Cardew.

“I read the script and thought it would be a really fun show,” she said. “My character is super sarcastic and witty. That’s my personality. My brother knew what the fall play was going to be earlier this summer and he encouraged me to try out.”

Another member of the cast is sophomore Keagan Heilbrun, who’s making his first appearance onstage. “I’ve never done plays before, but I am on the speech team,” he said. “This one seems like a really funny play. It has a lot of dry British humor, which I like.”

The cast of “The Importance of Being Earnest” includes Keagan Heilbrun as Algernon “Algy” Moncrieff, Andrew Cook as Jack Worthington, Megan Brady as Lady Bracknell, Hayley Grams as Gwendolyn Fairfax, Allie Baird as Cecily Cardew, Olivia Anderson as Miss Prism, Brock Chitwood as Dr. Chausuble, Collin Potts as Lane, Dan Olmstead as Merriman, Josh Van Listenborgh as Mr. Worthington’s Footman, and Kelsey Hutson as Mr. Moncrieff’s Footman.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will run on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 – 16 in the Gering High School auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door.

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