This Earnest Is Like No Other

DSC_0121Less than one week before opening, Rose Oser joined the cast of The Importance of Being Earnest in the central role of Algernon. The casting change became necessary when the actor scheduled to appear in the part became unavailable. 

While not immediately obvious, since Algernon is a he and Rose is a she, it was brilliant solution that added an additional spark an already remarkable production! 

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In making the announcement, Pat Nims, MST Artistic Director said, "We had a number of options for a new Algernon, but Jim and I both felt that Rose was not only right for the role, but also stood the best chance to learn the part in five days."  A San Marin graduate, Oser now attends University of California Berkeley. Rose had already been working with the production as the assistant director and stage manager.

7_09DSC_711"When it came time to consider Rose as the replacement", says Jim Poulos, Director of Earnest "We had her memorize and audition a scene with Jane Reagan, our Cecily, and it played beautifully."

Oser said her familiarity with the lines, knowing where her character was supposed to be on stage and her hands-on approach during early rehearsals has made the transition go pretty well. She still had a lot of memorization to do in a four-day span, but the benefits are making up for the stress.

"I am enjoying playing the role of a man because I don't have to wear a corset or heels," she said. "Also, I get to talk with my mouth full."

DSC_0672Algernon is one of the two young gentlemen at the heart of the story. Some feel that the character best represents Oscar Wilde himself. It is not the first time that a gender change has been made in a Oscar Wilde production. In a recent Broadway revival of the play, the Roundabout Theater Company's production starred Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell. "I have heard of other productions with Bracknell being cast as a man, says Poulos "but not Algernon. It works pretty wonderfully. And Rose has such a fine handle on the language that you really get Oscar Wilde's voice."

Poulos continued,"Rose is wonderful physically as an actor. She fits the type of a dandy perfectly. She has a great sense of style and a light touch with words, so it's really exciting to see her playing the part. Her cast mates have all had to step up their game to keep up."

Nims added, "Watching Rose perform, you forget that you are seeing a woman playing a man. You get so caught up in the story that all you are aware of is the humor and ridiculousness of the situations. It also doesn't hurt that her hair is about the same length of Oscar Wilde's."Wilde_2

Performances of The Importance of Being Earnest will be held on July 12, 13, and 14 at 8pm and on July 15 at 2pm at the Emily Gates Student Center on the San Marin High School campus in Novato. Tickets are available at BPT and at the door.


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