The Importance of Being Earnest – Digital Program

CofC Stages proudly presents

The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Todd McNerney

Scenic Designer
Madison Berry
Costume Designer
Mattison Gaillard
Lighting Designer
Bootsie Baldwin
Sound Designer & Composer

Amelia Hawke Tebalt

Technical Director
JD Stallings

Costume Shop Manager

Ellen Swick
Stage Manager
Kate Yarbray

April 12-21, 2024
Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun Street

Jump to: Production Team | Acknowledgments | Director’s and Dramaturgical Note | Cast and Production Team Biographies

(Actor | Character Name)

N. Gore | Lane
L.G.Wylie | Algernon Moncrief
B. Smalls | Jack Worthing
M. Davenport | Lady Bracknell
J. Cisson | Gwendolyn Fairfax
S. Rhodes | Cecily Cardew
B. Alston | Miss Prism
K. Daisey | Dr. Chausable, D.D.
R. Taylor | Merriman


Time: 1895

Act I – Algernon Moncrieff’s flat in Half Moon Street, London
Act II – Garden of The Manor House, Hertfordshire
Act III – Drawing Room, The Manor House, Hertfordshire

Production Team

CofC Stages Artistic Director: Janine McCabe
Chair, Dept. of Theatre & Dance: Gretchen McLaine
Assistant Directors: Bristol Barnes, Randolph Howell
Assistant Technical Director: Eli Salas
Assistant Stage Manager: Alexandria Foster
Stage Management Advisor: Susan Kattwinkel

Scenic Design Advisor: Jonathan Wentz
Scenic Charge: Madison Berry
Scenic Artists: Kelsey Beckett, Alexandria Foster, Madelein Hanson, Tovah Levenson
Carpenters: Audrey Black, Lauren Evans and students of THTR 209: Stagecraft class
Properties Charges: Caroline Drinnon, Stephen Hand
Properties Room Manager: Riley Taylor
Scene Shop Staff (select students hired by the Department of Theatre and Dance with support from donor funding): Arsalan Baig, Bristol Barnes, Madison Berry, Cheyenne Comitz, Alexandria Foster, Isabella Gardner, Olivia Maness, Jacob Rye, Eli Salas, Aidan Wunderley

Costume Design Advisor: Janine McCabe
Hair & Make-up Design: Students of Advanced Hair and Makeup Class
Costume Research Assistant: Mira Turkewitz
Sewing & Alterations: Alyssa Guardino, Evy Massey, Eva Razzi, Jenna Williamson, Lindsay Ward and Students of Intro to Costuming
Wardrobe Crew: Eva Razzi, Nic Hochstetler, Lindsay Ward
Costume Shop Staff (select students hired by the Department of Theatre and Dance with support from donor funding): Brandon Alston, Zoe Barber, Ashlyn Denham, Mattison Gaillard, Ava Woods

Lighting Design Advisor: Lauren Duffie
Head Electrician: Alex Jones
Assistant Head Electrician: Hannah Moore
Electricians: Ky Daisey, Isabella Gardner, Abby Israel, Olivia Maness, Riley Milligan, Hannah Moore, Sydney Noelle, Reed Reed, Eli Salas
Light Board Programmers: Reed Reed, Chris Warzynski
Light Board Operator: Rose Goblet
Electric Shop Staff (select students hired by the Department of Theatre and Dance with support from donor funding): Bootsie Baldwin, Abby Israel, Alex Jones, Chris Warzynski
Sound Design Advisor: Caleb S. Garner
Run Crew: Natalia Ramirez

CofC Stages Operations Coordinator: Miles Boinest
Marketing & Communications: Nandini B. McCauley
Graphic Designer: Rob Alexander
Photography: David Mandel
Publicity: Jake Cisson, Kaylee Phillips, Tippy Trombly
Office Assistant: Ngaa Magombedze
Box Office: George Street Box Office

Special Thanks

CofC Opera, Charleston Stage, High Output, School of the Arts, Interim Dean Elizabeth Meyer-Bernstein, Professor Jacob Steere-Williams, Carolyna Ramirez and the George Street Box Office Staff

Thank you to all of our donors!

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Impact Sponsor Levels:
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Special Gifts: (Leave a lasting legacy. Learn more: 843.953.5348 or
Anonymous – legacy gift
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John Covington & Robert Lukey – legacy gift
Michael & Susan Master – legacy gift

Become a Season Sponsor
As we transitions back to live in-person audiences and mask-free performances last season, we worked hard to keep our students and audiences engaged. We preserved the student experience during these last two years, but we lost essential revenue that plays a huge role in funding our season’s productions. Your donations contribute to funding the essentials needed for scenery, lighting, sound, and costumes, but more importantly, they help support student employees, student research and travel, and other student-focused experiences. We can’t do this without your generosity!

Season Sponsor Levels:
Karl & Charlene Bunch, Anthony Laneve, Valerie Morris, Emma Simmons,
Chester & Arlene Williams

ADVOCATE $750-999
Tap & Jean Johnson, Susan Kattwinkel, Janine McCabe, Matt & Gretchen McLaine,
Evelynn Putnam, Nancy & Sam Stafford

STAR $500-749
Leslie Dyke, Michael & Susan Master

DIRECTOR $250-499
Kristin Alexander, Sandra Garner, Janice & Jay Messeroff, Laura Turner,
Jonathan & Janine Wentz

FAN $100-249
Rebecca Boone, Glenda Byars, Todd McNerney, Elena and Ted Mitchell, Sam Rhodes,
Jillian & Michael Smallwood

PATRON up to $99
Dean Adams, Jennifer Asouzu, Arsalan Baig, Caroline Baker, Charley Bernstein,
Mary Berry, Shelby North, Chris Burgess, Carmella Della-Peruta, Maegan Gudridge,
Cianne Maloney, Katie Martin, Thomas McCabe, Kerri Needle, Bari Perales, Erin Percy,
Eli Salas, Hailee Selby, Claire Steffens, Anna Stephenson, Joseph Willingham

Director’s Note

How does one craft a comedy around seriousness? Oscar Wilde’s classic,
The Importance of Being Earnest has proven to do so.

earnest* adjective
1 : serious and zealous in intention, purpose, or effect
2 : showing depth and sincerity of feeling
Synonyms: resolute, serious, intent, sincere, thoughtful
*note – the spelling of the adjective is different from the spelling of the name, Ernest

Wilde’s life, his education, and his thoughts on art are all reflected in his creative works.
Specifically, his plays focus on and are framed by the Victorian period and its social
practices. They have entertained audiences for well over 100 years with their witty
dialogue and their explorations of the universal behaviors of men and women. To a
degree, they explore the secrets people carry, the hypocritical societal expectations we
often have, and the merit of the Victorian utilitarian ideal.

The Importance of Being Earnest (A Trivial Comedy for Serious People) as the subtitle
suggests is silly and trivial on its surface. It skewers a world in which people often take
trivial matters seriously and serious matters trivially. A world in which how someone
behaves, who their family is, or where they are from is more important than who they
are. Its universal appeal lies in the recognizable ways every society reflects similar
values. Our serious world often values trivial things, and as a consequence we regularly
try to portray ourselves in a socially acceptable or approved manner. Seen in this light, it
suggests that many of our behaviors are performative in nature and a direct response to
those trivial societal expectations. And if that is so, do we then take our experiences and
ourselves too seriously?

I believe Wilde thinks so. He offers us to consider that while trivialness may be the
norm, it is earnestness that is truly most vital (as the final line of the play informs us),
particularly in the singularly most significant instance … in affairs of the heart.

— Todd McNerney

Cast and Production Team Biographies

Brandon Alston (Miss Prism) is a senior majoring in Theatre (Costume Design and Technology). This is his 4th mainstage show at the College of Charleston.

Bootsie Baldwin is a junior double majoring in Computer Science and Computing in the Arts (Theatre concentration) and minoring in Mathematics. Bootsie is thrilled to be designing their first mainstage show! Some of her previous technical work at the College includes Die Fledermaus (Head Electrician), Men on Boats (Head Electrician), The Bacchae (Lighting Designer), Firebringer (Lighting Designer), and Becoming We (Lighting Designer). Bootsie would like to thank their mentor Lauren Duffie for everything she does.

Bristol Barnes is a senior majoring in Theatre (Performance & Scenic/Lighting Design) with a minor in Film Studies. They are so happy to have served as Assistant Director on their last mainstage show as a student at CofC. Her previous directorial credits include a staged reading of Hurricane Diane by Madeleine George (Center Stage) and Proof by David Auburn (Center Stage). She has also served as scenic designer on Two Gentlemen of Verona (Mainstage), Firebringer (Center Stage), and Pippin (Mainstage). She would like to thank Todd McNerney for allowing her to continuously annoy him on almost an absurd amount of projects at this point, and also for teaching her about 75% of what she knows about directing (the rest can be attributed to Evan Parry and learning from her mistakes through trial and error). She also earnestly thanks you for being an audience member, for theatre could not exist without you. 

Madison Berry is a senior at the College of Charleston majoring in Theatre with a double concentration in Performance and Scenic Design. Recent design work for the mainstage includes Pippin (Projection Designer), Men on Boats (Scenic Designer), Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (Assistant Scenic Designer) and Violet (Properties Lead). She has been awarded the 2023 Randy Lutz Allied Design & Tech National Finalist for her properties design (Violet) by The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her work has also been seen in the community in Daniel and the Kings (Assistant Properties Designer) and Piccolo Spoleto’s Stelle di Domani 2023 production of There’s Always Tomorrow (Director). She would like to thank Jonathan Wentz and JD Stallings for being amazing mentors.

Jake Cisson is a junior majoring in Theatre (Performance) with a minor in Business Administration. This is their 2nd mainstage show at the College of Charleston. They were last seen in Two Gentlemen of Verona as an understudy and won a “Diva” award for their work on this production. Jake is also the proud owner of Maggie, the canine actor who appeared in Two Gentlemen of Verona as the beloved Crab. Jake states that “this has been such an enriching and educational experience that has helped me grow as both a performer and a person.”

Kylie “Ky” Daisey is a Junior at The College and has spent her time with CofC Mainstage so far filling tech roles and assistant directing Men on Boats last Fall. Aside from that, she’s been hard at work directing for Center Stage. You may have seen her last year in The Void’s production of Succulents. She is so grateful to be part of the amazing ensemble that put this show together and is so excited to continue working with them! 

Michael Davenport is a Senior at the College of Charleston double majoring in Studio Arts (Painting Concentration) and Arts Management. This is his first Mainstage show, and he has previously been seen in Centerstage’s The Bacchae as Dionysus as well as in the Fall 2023 Director’s Showcase.

Caroline Drinnon is a sophomore majoring in Theatre with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first time working on a Mainstage production at the College of Charleston, however, you may have seen her scenic design in Center Stage’s Fall 2023 production of As I Was, Not As I Am by August Hakvaag. She would like to thank her co-props head Stephen Hand for all of his time and hard work!

Mattison Gaillard is a senior majoring in Theatre (Costume Design and Technology) with a minor in Spanish. She is so excited to be working as the costume designer for her first MainStage show at the College of Charleston. She previously designed the piece Le Corsaire for the department’s Fall 2023 dance concert After the Rain.

Nora Gore is Senior majoring in Theatre Performance and History with a minor in Classics. This is her second mainstage show at the College. She was previously seen in the Fall 2020 production of How the Vote Was Won, as well as Center Stage’s Swing of the Sea and the Piccolo Spoleto production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. She has also been the dramaturg for several mainstage productions including Cabaret, Violet, and Men on Boats. She would like to thank Todd McNerney for giving her this opportunity and for helping her become a better performer. And she would also like to thank the lovely cast and crew for making her last show the most memorable one! 

Stephen Hand is a junior majoring in History, with a minor in theatre and Russian studies from Washington DC. This is his 2nd mainstage production at CofC, having previously been seen in Everybody his freshman year, as well as an actor in the directors showcase last year. He would like to thank Caroline Drinnon, the Co-props head for all her hard work, especially with Photoshop!

Randy Howell is a sophomore majoring in Theatre (Performance concentration) and is from Philly. This is their 3rd mainstage show at the College of Charleston. They last served as Dramaturg for Pippin.  

Sam Rhodes is ecstatic to be working with Professor McNerney in this high heeled trivial comedy. Originally from Columbia, SC, Sam is currently a junior studying Theater at the college. This is his 4th Mainstage production at the CofC. He would like to thank his family (even Asa) and Allison for the love and support. He really hopes you enjoy the show; this cast and crew is amazing!

Brandi Smalls is a senior majoring in Theatre (Performance) from Charleston,SC. This is her 5th mainstage show at the College of Charleston.

Riley Taylor is a junior double majoring in Arts Management and Theatre from Greenville, SC. This will be her first mainstage production at the college and would like to thank Todd McNerney, the cast, and the crew for creating a fun and safe environment to express yourself. 

Amelia Hawke Tebalt is a sophomore majoring in Arts Management, with a Music Industry concentration and a minor in Theatre, from Seneca, SC. This is her first mainstage show at the College of Charleston. 

LG Wylie is a junior majoring in Theatre (Performance) and minoring in Religious Studies. She has previously been seen in the Mainstage production of Men On Boats and Center Stage’s The Bacchae and Hurricane Diane. She is so grateful to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew on this show and cherishes each and every person involved. Special thanks to her coworker, Hailee, for always running lines with her during the dead hours at work! Happy Bunburying!

Kate Yarbray is a junior majoring in Theatre (Performance and Lighting Technology) and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Creative Writing (Poetry). This is her fourth mainstage production, but first time stage managing for the department. She was last seen as Catherine in the mainstage production of Pippin, and Chorn in the Center Stage production of Firebringer. She admires Todd McNerney for his unrivaled determination, and she’d like to thank him for always having her back. Finally, she’d like to thank her roommate for proofreading every piece of paperwork she created during this production. 

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