Victorian era English play Importance of Being Earnest gets staged in Mumbai

Updated: Mar 16, 2018, 13:14 IST | Snigdha Hasan

Take a trip back to Victorian sensibilities as the timeless satire, The Importance of Being Earnest, gets staged

A scene from the play
A scene from the play

"I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays." If these words make you think of the smart alecs who unleash their one-liners on social media, it was cleverness of another kind that was irking Oscar Wilde when he wrote the line 123 years ago. But it's this resonance of the Irish poet and playwright's work that puts The Importance of Being Earnest in the company of other classic plays, bringing with them a certain freshness every time they return to the stage.

Jeff Goldberg
Jeff Goldberg

This weekend, the comedy will be performed under the direction of writer, director and actor Jeff Goldberg, who founded The Jeff Goldberg Studio, a method acting school in Mumbai, in 2014. The actors in the play — Pashmina Roshan, Neeti Singhi, Shreyas Porus Pardiwalla, Sankalp Joshi, Takshay Tarneja, Taniya Kalra, Ankit Narang and Helen Absalom — have been trained in Goldberg's studio. With the venue for the play being The Royal Opera House, the audience can expect an apt setting for the play to unfold.

"We need to laugh more; people are so serious today. And laughter needs to be attached to something, which goes beyond jokes that are first degree," says Goldberg about the classic, which ridicules Victorian sensibilities through a plot that revolves around two characters creating alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. "Audiences today are really hungry for good content, and make the effort to seek it out. Classics, because they are so well-written, are always going to work," he adds.

Goldberg feels that the story is no doubt comic, but it is also a social critique on our occupation with all things frivolous. "There's also melodrama in the plot and I wonder why a Bollywood movie has not yet been made on it," he says.

"While food, transport, communication and education systems have evolved over centuries, emotions remain. And what makes the story relevant is its emotions," he sums up.

On: March 3 and 4, 6 pm
At: The Royal Opera House, Mathew Road, Girgaum.
Log on to:
Entry: Rs 800 onwards

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