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Weston Students Say The Show Must Go On

WESTON, Conn. – Missing a week of school and having the power knocked out across town can’t stop Weston High School’s theatre group, COMPANY, from putting on a fall production of Oscar Wilde’s "The Importance of Being Earnest."

With school canceled last week, students were hard at work practicing lines, sewing costumes and building sets at the high school. Along with the loss of power and limited school space for rehearsals, students were faced with several other challenges putting on this show, particularly English accents and 19th century dress.

“'Earnest' has a small cast, but it is a really big show. It’s also a comedy, so it is funny, but it is also done in British accents, which makes it even better,” says Taylor Ellis, COMPANY co-president and stage manager.

Learning the mannerisms of the late 19th century and early 20th England is no easy feat for the actors. Sophomore Ross Cohen, who plays Jack in the play, says that the physical actions of the speech alone are very different than those of American dialect.

“It is interesting that I’ve never quite noticed before that the speech rolls off of the tongue much further forward in the mouth than in my normal tone of speaking. I can feel vibrations near to my teeth, not just on the roof of my mouth,” he said.

Costuming for the show has also posed a challenge to students, “Of course, as this play is set in 18th century England, there is little room for variation on the style of dress to express each character's personality,” says senior Lindsey Hover, the head costumer for the show.

The three-act play has three very distinct sets — Jack’s city apartment, Algernon’s country house, and a garden. In order to quickly accomplish set changes and be most efficient in terms of time and resources, the crew had to plan ahead, long before any building actually occurred.

“Since there are three sets, one for each act, two of the sets are connected and can be spun around to reveal the other one. The sets are also all on wheels,” said Emily Koller, a junior and production chair for COMPANY.

The hard work of all involved in the set production has paid off, says Koller. “The set looks amazing, and we couldn’t have done it without lots of help and support.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be performed at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 13 in the Weston High School auditorium. Visit www.whscompany.com for more information, and log onto www.westonk12-ct.org for ticket order forms. Tickets will be sold at the Weston Public Library and at the door as well.

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