The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


April 9, 2014

Athenian Players to bring Wilde’s wit to ASU

The Athenian Players — an Athens State University theatre group — are gearing up to offer the community a production full of farce, satire and wit.

The Players, who make up the newly formed theatre company at ASU, will perform Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Directed by Dr. Hugh Long at ASU, the play will be performed in McCandless Hall and serve as the inaugural performance of the recently renovated building.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” has been considered a “brilliant comedy” where the protagonists maintain fictitious personas in order to escape burdensome social obligations.

Set within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of society and social norms.

According to several contemporary reviews, the play’s humor marks the highest point of Wilde’s artistic career. Others have said its high farce and witty dialogue have helped make “The Importance of Being Earnest” Wilde’s “most enduring popular play.”

“Earnest is the perfect vehicle to stage as our inaugural performance for the historic and beloved McCandless Hall,” Long said. “Of course in true Athenian Player fashion we put an unexpected spin on Wilde’s comedy to give it interest. ... it will definitely be entertaining.” 

The cast includes Patrick Kustor, Wayne Blanks, Courtney Croxdale, Jensie Britt, Stephanie Cooper, Ben Montgomery, Kimberly Brinkley, K.L. Riley and Laura Poe.

Dr. Kimberly Jack serves as the production’s costume designer. The stage manager is Tracy Szappan and Victoria Cochran is the technical director.

The Athenian Players’ mission is to present a play each semester drawing the cast and crew from Athens State University students, Calhoun Community College students and the local community at-large. Players said their goal is to continue the long tradition of quality dramatic productions from Athens State University’s illustrious history and to be a beacon for future theatre artists in the greater North Alabama region.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” will run for six shows starting at 7:30 p.m. April 10-12 and April 17-17 as well as a 2 p.m. matinee April 13.

Admission is $10 at the door and $7 for students and seniors.

There will also be a Dinner and Theatre benefit performance, catered by Picasso’s Grill, at 7 p.m. April 19 in the Sandridge Student Center ballroom. Tickets are $30.

To find out more, visit

— Guy McClure contributed to this article.

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