End of Week 3: The Importance of Being Earnest: A Backward Glance at the Nineteenth Century.


What a buzz for us all to see The Importance of Being Earnest performed by an utterly world-class production by the National Theatre of London. David Suchet as Lady Bracknell would have to be one of the most GROTESQUE stage presences we have seen in a long time


The Importance of Being Earnest performed at the Vaudeville TheatreDavid Suchet as Lady Bracknell©Alastair Muir 27.06.14

And this hard angular, masculine, pompous, utterly self-important face is exactly what Oscar Wilde was wanting to portray about the Victorian self-congratulatory middle and upper classes. David Suchet was such a perfect choice for capturing this GROTESQUERY . How I love that word: it forces your mouth into an ugly shape in having to say it!

The play was full of wonderful depictions of many of the worst excesses of the Nineteenth Century, from its desperate fear of revolutions of all kinds through to its narrow belief in the value of money above all else. The merciless treatment of Oscar Wilde, I am sure, had not a little to do with his extraordinary capacity to cut through the pomposity, the superficiality, the horrible self-congratulating that went with being British in the age of Victoria. I think Oscar Wilde would have learnt a great deal from the master of such satire, Charles Dickens. 

Here is a scene of how David Suchet became Lady Bracknell: Click here and Enjoy:


Blog Topics for Week Four and please note that this is also the first week for your peer reviews (these should be an opportunity for you to interact creatively with your peers and make supportive critical comments as required): 

1/ Write a brief review of the National Theatre Production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

2/What was the one moment in the play where you had a strong sense that you understood what Wilde was actually trying to say about Victorian attitudes?

3/ Write your own description of someone who is arrogantly self-important. You could try this either as a third person narrative description, or you could cast it in the form of a brief dramatic monologue where the speaker gives themselves away through how they speak about themselves and others.

4/ Write your own topic basing it on an aspect of our study this week that has most interested you and that perhaps draws on your own personal experience as well.

  2 comments for “End of Week 3: The Importance of Being Earnest: A Backward Glance at the Nineteenth Century.

  1. March 19, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Dare I write about a certain republican candidate in answer to q3? nah, but my post would no doubt raise some controversial comments I am sure. Check out the last paragraph.

    • March 19, 2016 at 4:51 am

      Why not? But I am not sure that many would know what you are saying: there is a lack of political awareness ….

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