The Importance of Being Earnest

Aquila Theatre will be performing Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" this Saturday, November 5 at 8pm as part of our 10x10 Arts Series. Earnest is such a witty and fun play, and there are so many fabulous quotes, like, "Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that," and "Well, I know, of course, how important it is not to keep a business engagement, if one wants to retain a sense of beauty of life." 

We thought it would be fun to get to know some of the actors from Aquila Theatre, so we went sent them some interesting questions to answer. Here are the questions & their answers are below: 

1.       A quote from the play: "I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression." ---How are you wonderfully expressive?

2.       “Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.”---What have you read recently but shouldn’t? 

3.       One of the characters pretends to have a friend in the country that he can ‘visit’ anytime he wants to get away from social engagements…where would you go if you could visit anywhere?

4.       If you could switch identities with one well-known/famous character for a day, who would it be? Why?

5.       The New York Times describes Aquila as “modernly hip” – what two words would you use to describe YOURSELF?

6.       Can you think of a time you got caught bending the truth?

7.       If you could uproot any classic what time period would you place it in and why?

Responses from Peter F. Gardiner who plays Jack Worthing (or Earnest) and Merriman 

1. I express myself through my acting (in 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and 'Macbeth' I get to play 8 different roles and that's just in 2 shows). Since my first play in 1991 ('Tess of the D'Urbervilles') I've played hundreds of roles and I find that this is one of the greatest ways for me to express myself. I also write and play songs on the guitar I find this a very satisfying way of expressing myself. I have written 3 full-length plays, I really enjoy expressing myself through play-writing. Socially I enjoy telling stories, telling jokes and 'playing the fool' so I also find this is a daily way of expressing myself in an informal way.

2. I bought a novel 'Matterhorn' 3 months ago. It's a great book and yet I've only read a quarter of it because I'm not a big reader. So I don't read the good stuff, let alone waste my time by reading stuff I shouldn't! Also in the last 12 months I've been in 5 different plays so I find myself learning and revising my lines, so - again I don't have the time to read stuff I shouldn't - I'm too busy getting on top of my lines. 

3. Italy. I've heard it's beautiful, the food's great, it's full of history and I've never been there before, and it's warmer than where I live in Britain. 

4. I'd love to be Han Solo for the day. A lot of people don't realize that he's a real person who helped bring peace, prosperity and love to a galaxy under threat from a great evil. I love the Star Wars movies and apparently Harrison Ford's a really big fan of my early work.

5. Expressive and Fun. But also Scottish and Short. Also Jealous and Ambitious. Also Artistic and Creative.

6. The last time I bent the truth a little bit was probably after the last time I stayed at my parents house. We always eat too much, stay up late, drinking, playing poker and partying into the wee wee hours, so come the next day my girlfriend and I just want to get home, lie on the couch in front of the TV and recover. So I might have told the odd white lie about needing to get home 'the morning after' for sundry weighty reasons; 'To meet people', 'To have lunch with someone', 'To prepare a chicken we've already bought' etc.......

7. I'd uproot 'Hamlet' and place him in a Modern Urban Scottish Setting, complete with drugs, drink, clubs, violence, family histories, distrust, friends, romances and rapier duels - a bit like a 'Shakespearean Trainspotting', or 'Hamlet in Hamilton',  perhaps 'The Dane in Dundee', or 'The Prince of Paisley', 'Deep-Fried Hamlet', these are just a few of the titles I'm playing with. I've also got an idea for a very good 40 year old Scottish actor to play the lead role in the version I've just described - in fact he's perfect! 

Great answers from Peter!! Check back tomorrow for another round with Guy Oliver-Watts who plays Algernon in "The Importance of Being Earnest."