Importance of Being Earnest Program
John Worthing, J.P.Jim Payton
Algernon MoncrieffDon Hillaker
Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.Danny Morris
MerrimanDave Hibler
LaneJohn Gender
Lady BracknellBrenda Robinson
Gwendolyn FairfaxDoreen Jacobs
Cecily CardewVanessa Wasylczenko
Miss PrismIrene Billingsley

DirectorSteve Rivette
Co-DirectorSusan Angello
Co-ProducersNancy Green & Annette Huffman
Stage ManagerSusan Angello
House ManagerFaith Link & Bob Link
CostumesJanet Russell & America Evering
SoundJim Millard
LightsPhyllis Millard
Set DesignDiana Smith
Light/Sound DesignJim Millard
ProgramDan Huffman & Annette Huffman
Program Cover/FlyersRichard Rivette
PublicityClaire Bugado
TicketsBob Link & Faith Link
PropsDave Hibler
Make-upGail Miller & Darlene Rivette
Back Stage CrewJay Mower & Kate Mower
Set ConstructionDiana Smith, Danny Morris, Dave King, Annette Huffman, Nancy Green, Irene Billingsly, Jim Millard, Phyllis Millard, Lou Alliano, Jim Payton, Foreen Jacobs, Eldon Jacobs, Chris Robinson, Susan Angello
HospitalityFaith Link, Bob Link, Chris Link, Robyn Link, Ken Frost, John Fessler, Nancy Green, Annette Huffman, Evelyn Lee, America Evering, Michelle Green, Marge Zabarauskas
Flowers Courtesy ofLawrence Smith

"Earnest" benefits performing arts center.

Article from local paper by Robin Ditzler

Since 1982, many people within the local community have supported the Poway Performing Arts Company by becoming PowPAC members and attending the group's numerous productions.

The self-sustaining, nonprofit amateur theater company will show its appreciation by contributing to the planned Poway Center for the Performing Arts with a benefit performance of its newest production on July 24.

"On this particular show, we decided to do something for the city," explained Steve Rivette, co-director of "The Importance of Being Earnest," which opens July 15. "we wanted to try to give something back."

In the fall of 1989, the curtain will rise for the first time on stage at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. When that happens, the people of Poway and the surrounding North County will be able to enjoy theatrical and musical productions in a modern 800+ seat facility, which will go far to fill a large cultural void in this area.

"It's a professional theater. It has everything a theater should have for a major production," said Poway City Councilwoman Linda Brannon, referring to the large stage, rehearsal and dressing rooms, wardrobe and scene shop accommodations, and other features of the .5 million facility.

Construction is scheduled to begin soon on the center, which will be located at the corner of Titan Way and Espola Road. In an unique joint venture, the Poway Unified School District has donated the land for the building while the City is providing additional acreage for the parking lot. Once the theater opens, the stage will be used for a variety of school classes and performances, as well as shows from professional and amateur theater, music and dance companies.

"We're going to be booking events from traveling shows and entertainers, and we'll be sure that the local community has the opportunity to use it as well," Brannon said. She added that the center will have a manager, who will begin booking future events about six months from now.

Fund-raising efforts will take place throughout the community, drawing on potential patrons from all over the North County who will soon be able to enjoy the kind of entertainment that currently exists only in San Diego, La Jolla and East County facilities.

"The Importance of Being Earnest"

A Review by Jane O'Neil for ACTion!

When one is looking for a witty comment, it is smart to look to Oscar Wilde for some assistance. He is often quoted, and his play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," is spiced with many clever lines. The Poway Performing Arts Company staged its production of this classic in a charmingly refurbished Golden West Academy.

The play concerns a rather immature young man who invents a brother of tainted reputation to provide a cover for some of his questionable activities. While discussing this fiction, his friend states that he has been doing the same thing for years under the guise of an ailing friend called Bunberry. As you might imagine, the deceptions eventually lead to complications in their relationships. Along the way there are wonderful opportunities for Wilde to make disdainful observations on the state of the human condition.

Director Steve Rivette selected a suitable cast to portray the frothy characters. Under his capable hand, the play moved along smoothly with excellent pacing. An ambitious crew constructed three separate sets, which helped set the tone for the play. At times it was difficult to determine the period, due to the eclectic set decoration. (I understand that sometimes this is due to the constraint of limited resources.) Diana Smith was responsible for the design, and used the space wisely, enabling the cast to move about gracefully.

Jim Payton was a superior choice as the lead, John Worthing. Nose in the air, an aura of superiority, and a stuffy attitude were superbly unveiled. His height only added to the supercillious impression. Later, after the deception is uncovered, he also shows some vulnerability and actually becomes likeable.

A puckish Don Hillaker performed as Algernon Moncrieff. He was wonderful to watch. His movements were smooth and his lines were delivered with a practiced finish. He was a perfect foil for John Worthy.

Brenda Robinson assumed the role of Lady Bracknell, mother of the eligible maiden, and was suitably blunt and to the point. She strutted and flounced and was as overbearing as the part demanded, in the end getting more than she had anticipated, tapering to the happy mother of the bride-to-be. The wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde are included in the part of Lady Bracknell and were delivered by Brenda Robinson with style and elan.

Doreen Jacobs, an accomplished actress, portrayed Gwendolyn Fairfax, the daughter of Lady Bracknell, with definition and confidence.

The role of Cecily Cardew, the young, attractive ward of John Worthy, as ably played by Vanessa Wasyleczenko. She was a bright spot, suitably ingenuous.

A genuine treat was the character of Miss Prism, played by Irene Billingsley. The governess for Cecily, enamoured of the Reverend, flitted about coquettishly, and delivered her lines with skill and a real feel for her character.

Another treat was the amusing depiction of the disapproving servant, Merriman, by Dave Hibbler. He made the most of a very small part, using graphic and exaggerated facial expressions to detail his feelings about what was transpiring.

Danny Morris, as the Rev. Chasuble, D.D., was blustery and all-knowing, and though his visual appearance and movement were good, several of his lines were lost due to fast delivery. John Gender completed the cast as the usual stuffy butler, Lane.

Costuming for this period piece, by Janet Russell and America Evering, was uneven. Some of the costumes were exceptional, e.g. those worn by Cecily, Miss Prism and Algy. However, the costuming for John Worthing was almost distracting, and one of Lady Bracknell's costumes was not quite polished enough for her role. Again, I understand the constraints of a small theater group, but I felt that it was a diverting influence.

Make-up was generally excellent. However, in the first act, Algy's make-up was much too white. Gail Miller and Darlene Rivette were the make-up artists.

Lighting on the stage was very good, but I was sitting in the front row and felt there was too much spillover into the audience. (This flaw can probably be attributed to the physical limitatins of the space itself, rather than to inadequate lighting design - Ed.)

Overall, PowPAC put on a good show. The audience loved it and walked away with a good feeling. All's well with the world when the play ends, happily.