‘And the Oscar goes to…La La Land‘ – actually, six of them. But not the one that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced (for the best picture). One of the biggest mishaps in the history of the Academy Awards was not Beatty’s fault, though. He read what was written on the card in the envelope. It was a wrong card. It happens. I’m happy that the Oscar went to The Moonlight, though I definitely felt sorry for the whole La La Land crew tha was called off the stage after the mistake had been revealed.
Was it a provocation of some sort? Well, my dear, as Oscar Wilde says in Algernon Moncrieff’s words: “The truth is rarely pure, and never simple”. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) is my favourite play by this Irish author.
I had immense pleasure in staging The Importance… with a group of amateur actors called The Cheerful Hamlets. It was my last production with them – and a very special one, as I was pregnant then with my first son.I still remember the laughs we had, the heaps of muffins and the cups of tea, fresh roses, and a leather medical bag (which is one of the “keys” to solving the play’s mystery). If you’ve never read it (or seen it), I highly recommend it. It’s good entertainment and it was made for the screen as well (for example, you can watch Oliver Parker’s 2002 movie starring Ruppert Everett and Colin Firth).
The play is a farcical comedy, or a “comedy of manners”, set in Victorian England. Two gentlemen (Jack and Algernon) try to escape the obligations of the city life and they find a retreat in Jack’s estate in the country. Both of them claim some false identity (of Ernest Worthing) to win the favours of their beloved ladies (Gwendolen and Cecily). This results in a lot of qui pro quo situations, leading to an unexpected turn of events, when Miss Prism’s (Cecily’s governess) biggest secret is revealed.
Here are a few quotes from the play I’ve chosen for you:
ALGERNON: “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”—
ALGERNON: “If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.”—
JACK: “When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.”—
CECILY: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”—
I hope that my visual “translations” of the play will encourage you to read it (or watch it).
Oscar Wilde could not openly lead a life he wanted to lead. He was a homosexual and, after his romance with another man had been discovered, he was imprisoned for his sexual orientation. In the world of ‘post-truths’ and ‘alternative facts’, let us be the watchmen of living in truth; even though we know that the truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of my finds, and if you’re happy with the Academy choices this year. For me, the Oscar will always go to…Oscar.
Until next week,