Artists’ Ensemble opens its 11th season with ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

Andrew Swackhamer and Casiena Raether in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” (Photo by John Cobb)
Andrew Swackhamer and Casiena Raether in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” (Photo by John Cobb)

Staff Report

Oscar Wilde’s brilliant comedy The Importance of Being Earnest opens Artists’ Ensemble Theater’s (AET) 11th season Sept. 5. This tour de force of mistaken identity, confused lovers, and a baby absentmindedly left in a handbag features a cast of eight, including a mother-daughter duo playing, appropriately, mother and daughter.

Andrew Swackhamer, a Pittsburgh actor making his AET debut, plays Jack, and David A. Gingerich plays Jack’s friend, Algernon.

Raeanna Larson will appear as Cecily, and Casiena Raether plays the sophisticated Gwendolen. Gwendolen’s mother, described with distressing accuracy by Jack as “a monster,” is played by Casiena’s real-life mother, Margaret Raether. Gary Wingert and Jessica MacDonald play an unlikely romantic couple in the persons of the Rev. Chasuble and the prim Miss Prism, and John Chase portrays, not one, but two perfect butlers, Lane and Merriman.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be performed in the Cheek Theatre in the Clark Arts Center at Rockford University. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday tickets are $19. All other performances are $30, $28 for seniors, and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.artistsensemble.org or by calling (815) 394-5004.

Artists’ Ensemble is an Equity professional theater performing at Rockford University.

From the Sept. 3-9, 2014, issue

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