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Gering students ready to perform British comedy
November 14, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen - The cast of the Gering High School production of Oscar Wilde’s The Important of Being Earnest, is front row from the left, Front Row left, Brock Chitwood, Olivia Anderson, Allie Baird, Hayley Grams, Meagan Brady, Keagen Heilbrun; back row, Collin Potts, Dan Olmstead, Kelsey Hutson, Josh Van Listenborgh, Andrew Cook. The play is directed by Jason DeMaranville, who is not pictured.

Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest, hits the stage this Friday and Saturday at Gering High School.

During a Monday dress rehearsal, high school actors commented on how much they enjoyed the dry British humor that made the play such a classic. And after seven weeks of rehearsal, they’re ready to see how the public likes it.

“This has been a really good group to work with,” said show director Jason DeMaranville. “They’ve been very enthusiastic and sometimes very chatty, but they’re a good bunch.”

He said “Earnest” is a hard show to do because of the amount of dialogue the actors must memorize. “It’s very talky with a lot of lines. One of the big challenges for them was to learn so many lines in only seven weeks,” he said. “On the technical side, the show is prop heavy, but it’s been a lot of fun. It’s great to watch the kids grow into their roles and become those people a little bit.”

Hayley Grams, a junior, plays the role of Gwendolyn Fairfax. “She gets engaged to the main character at the start of the show,” she said. “The only reason she wants to be engaged to him is because his name is Ernest. They play off that for the rest of the show.”

Grams said that although her character is very snooty and proper, she has some very funny lines in contradicting herself a lot.

This is Grams’ third year of performing. As a freshman, she auditioned and landed a part in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” And she’s been hooked since then.

“We have so much fun here,” she said. I knew I was going to audition this year, but this show sounded like something we haven’t done before. It’s been really interesting.”

Senior Josh Van Listenborgh plays the footman to Mr. Worthing. He’s a veteran of the Gering High School stage and enjoys dressing up as other characters. “It’s like Halloween for another month,” he said. “This is a different kind of show from what we’ve done in the past, but that’s what makes it fun.”

Sophomore Keagan Heilbrun plays the role of Algernon Moncrieff. While he’s worked with the high school speech team in the past, this is his first time on stage.

“I like British dry humor, so this is an interesting show,” Heilbrun said. “It’s hard to describe, but I find the humor more quirky and funnier.”

The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest includes Keagan Heilbrun as Algernon 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 the Footman to Mr. Worthington and Kelsey Hutson as the Footman to Mr. Moncrieff.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be performed this Friday and Saturday, Nov 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gering High School auditorium at 1500 U Street. General seating tickets are $5 and are available at the door.

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