Coming soon to our YouTube channel!The Arts Center of Kershaw County strives to make both the visual and performing arts an integral part of the life of our community, a distinct challenge in the Covid19 crisis. Our production of The Importance of Being Earnest will be an online virtual production as part of that ongoing effort.
Co-Director’s Note from Frank Kiraly
I hope you’ll enjoy this virtual offering of The Importance of Being Earnest. Written in late Victorian England, audiences have continued to find fun, frivolity, and farce in this Oscar Wilde classic. It’s really a delight to explore the characters Wilde so adeptly conjures, and the hilariously intertwining paths they take. These people live in a time when propriety was everything, so the various misunderstandings, simmering passions, and keeping up of appearances all collide to create a tale that still speaks to the human condition, even a century later. Of course, we miss doing this work traditionally, with a full treatment of lighting, sets, and such in the Wood Auditorium, but we humbly offer this “virtual edition” for you to enjoy until we can all see each other again, safely, in our theatre home at the Arts Center! This is the original four-act version of Earnest, and the original running time was over three hours! In a nod to how we consume content in the 21st century, we are presenting these four acts in an episodic format, with each new act streamed every few days. We will assemble all four acts into a single stream once all four acts have been released.
These are some difficult times indeed, and keeping the arts alive via whatever means we can is vital. It is in the arts that we find our humanity, our common ground…the very beauty and meaning of life itself. I ask, if you are able, to support the Arts Center of Kershaw County with a donation to help us keep the arts alive in Kershaw County!
Co-Director's Notes from Frank Thompson
Written in late Victorian England, audiences have continued to find fun, frivolity, and farce in this Oscar Wilde classic. It’s really a delight to explore the characters Wilde so adeptly conjures, and the hilariously intertwining paths they take. These people live in a time when propriety was everything, so the various misunderstandings, simmering passions, and keeping up of appearances all collide to create a tale that still speaks to the human condition, even a century later.
MEET THE CAST AND PRODUCTION TEAM:
Co-Director/Rev. Canon Chausable, D.D. – Frank Kiraly: Frank is so delighted to be able to partner with fellow lovers of the arts to create The Importance of Being Earnest, virtual edition! He is an active collaborator with the Arts Center of Kershaw County. Frank's most recent work in the Wood Auditorium includes Sister Act, Fences, and Mamma Mia!. He was due to direct The King and I, which was sadly cancelled due to COVID. However, he cannot wait to return to the Arts Center once we are able resume live theatre safely! In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy this virtual offering of The Importance of Being Earnest!
Co-Director/John Worthing, J.P. – Frank Thompson: Also known as Paddington, hails from the Darkest Peru. Contrary to current rumor, he has a propensity for marmalade not muffins. Mr. Thompson has played everyone in everything. He is a fantastic director, actor, and mime. In his spare time, Mr. Thompson can be found stalking cats, reviewing adult beverages, and loitering Paddington railway station, muttering, “Please take care of this bear” to every Helena Bonham Carter look-a-like that walks past. Frank would like to thank his lovely, patient wife Laurel Posey for fulfilling his need to be hopelessly and shamelessly in love, and his Stage Manager, for writing the bio he failed to complete in a timely manner.
Technical Director/Video Editor/Moulton - Richard A. Kiraly: The guru of all things technical (a.k.a, the resident technical director) at the Art Center of Kershaw County. Mr. Kiraly has come out of the shadows of the wings to delight us with his portrayal of Moulton, one of only a handful of roles Mr. Kiraly has agreed to accept in his lifetime (a sorrow those who love him have to learn to live with). Mr. Kiraly is rather shy and is most comfortable behind a camera, or in the case of Earnest, behind half a dozen monitors. Mr. Kiraly has worked for many venues across the country, including Las Vegas. (He would tell you all about it, but you know the rule.) Mr. Kiraly is an avid lover of Jason Mraz, Micheal Bublé, and Guns and Roses. Mr. Kiraly is smart, too. He is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish, and “Durman,” a quirky mix of Dutch, German, and Gibberish (those who have heard it know it). In his spare time…. (Oh, who are we kidding! The man has no spare time), Mr. Kiraly enjoys Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Mr. Kiraly also enjoys pouncing like a cat, random pokes, and collecting randomly hidden stick figures hidden in his shop. Mr. Kiraly is a doting husband and son, best friend, and uncle. Mr. Kiraly would like to dedicate his performance to all his theater friends. Hold on, we will all be back to the theater soon. Mr. Kiraly also did not submit his bio in time, and thus the Stage Manager has picked up his slack.
Lady Bracknell - Therese Talbot: Resi Talbot was last seen at the Arts Center of Kershaw County as Rosie in Mamma Mia! and since has played and Silda Grauman in Workshop Theatre’s Other Desert Cities. She is delighted to be working with terrific directors and sharing the stage, uh, the screen, uh, the monitor, with so much talent, including her most excellent partner-in-crime, William Arvay, whose support and encouragement make her life better every day.
Algernon Moncrief - James Kirk: James is proud to have worked on stage as a playwright and performer for several of the theatre companies in the greater midlands area. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the Seattle Barista Academy. He is a writer living in Columbia with his wife and fellow performer, Cathy Carter Scott.
Mr. Grisby, Solicitor - Bill Arvay: Bill has been acting on Columbia area stages for over 40 years. Favorite roles include King Arthur, Atticus Finch, Pontius Pilate, Chief Bromden, Daddy Warbucks, Prince Hal, and Trekkie Monster. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, he has appeared in movies with Burt Reynolds and Patrick Swayze. Bill is past president of the Columbia Drama Club, owner of the company that built the world's largest fire hydrant, and currently employed by Prisma Health Orthopedics. But Bill’s all-time favorite role is as father to his daughters, Allison, C.C. and Robyn. Bill appears in our production of Earnest with his real-life partner, Resi Talbot.
Merriman, Butler/Lane, Manservant - Andrew Duxbury: Andrew has been performing steadily in the greater Birmingham area for a number of years in both musical and dramatic parts. He is best known as the Emcee and principal writer for the long running Politically Incorrect Cabaret, which has been touring the Southeast for nearly fifteen years. Other recent roles include Herr Schultz in Cabaret, the Captain of the Guard in Man of La Mancha, Rudolph in Hello, Dolly! And Pops in Gypsy, all with the Virginia Samford Theater, Will Dearth in J. M. Barrie’s Dear Brutus and Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol with the Belltower Players, and Mr. Pendleton in Choir Boy with Birmingham Black Repertory Theater Company. In these days of Covid-19, he is working on various online projects and writing steadily, including his Accidental Plague Diaries blog about the intersection of the pandemic with a medical and artistic life. (http://lifetheuniverseandeverything.blog). Off stage, he is a professor of clinical geriatrics at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine.
Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax - Katie Mixon: An Actor, Theatre Teacher and Conservation Advocate. She currently works as an Educator for the South Carolina Shakespeare Company and a teacher at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, both in Columbia, SC. Katie is also an Artistic Associate for Elsewhere Shakespeare in Richmond Virginia and on the team, who first brought Sappraiwan Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand to life. Katie was the creator, host and producer for Riverbanks Roundup, an animal education show filmed at Riverbanks Zoo, from 2006-2012. She was also a producer and co-host of Expeditions for SCETV. She is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and the University of South Carolina. Katie has worked in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Suriname and Trinidad and here at home in the United States.
Cecily Cardew - Leah Luker: A long time Birmingham resident, Leah served as the production manager/artist in residence for Birmingham Children's Theatre for 10 years. She has played roles around Birmingham such as Irene Molloy in Hello Dolly!, The Witch in Into The Woods, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Little Edie in Grey Gardens, Catherine Hyatt in The Last 5 Years, Anna Leonowens in The King and I and Ivy in August Osage County and has been a solo performer with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra three times. Leah is often seen off stage (on film) through the popular internet series "SEC Shorts" and "It's a Southern Thing" and (on signs in yards) as a real estate agent. Many thanks to Frank Thompson for this amazing opportunity- and thank YOU for continuing to support the arts in these challenging times! Leah holds a degree in theatre from the University of Montevallo.
Miss Prism, Governess - Debra Kiser: Debra was in numerous community theatre productions in Columbia from 1977-1981, including Nancy in Oliver!, Sandy in Grease, and Lois/Bianca in Kiss Me Kate. She moved to NYC in 1983 and was a professional actress appearing in commercials and industrial training films. Debra moved back to Columbia in 2016 and returned to the Columbia stage in 2019 after a thirty-eight-year absence with roles as Polly in Workshop’s production of Other Desert Cities, Dinah in Chapin Theatre’s Dixie Swim Club, and Ruby in Twilight on Cape Fear at OnStage Productions. This is Debra’s third virtual production during quarantine. Those productions include roles as Henry IV in King Henry IV -Part 2 and Mrs. Bramson in Night Must Fall. When not performing, she enjoys retirement and looks forward to performing live theatre again post-quarantine.
Stage Manager – Jennifer Steele: Jennifer has been involved with the Art Center of Kershaw County for two years. She started as a backstage parent helper and never left. Jennifer is a graduate of the stage management class offered at the Arts Center. She was the assistant stage manager for Fences and the stage manager for The Lion King Jr. Jennifer loves to assist in the wings. She helps build sets, manage props, sew things, and most of all, she loves working the lights in the booth. She has on Production Teams for School House Rock Jr., The Odd Couple (Female version), and Sister Act the Musical. During COVID quarantine, Jennifer discovered a love of photography after taking an online photography class at the Arts Center of Kershaw County; some of her photos can be seen in the Virtual Gallery and have been featured in several online projects. Jennifer is in her final semester of her M.S. in Forensic Psychology. Jennifer loves and misses her theater family.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FRIEND, ANDREW DUXBURY.
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