Waterford Dramatic Society presents ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde
After its award winning 2022 production of Bailegangaire, Waterford Dramatic Society is back with Oscar Wildes’s scintillating comedy.
Tickets for this show that are purchased in groups of six or more in one booking will be priced at €15. To avail of this offer, please contact the box office directly on 051 855 038.
Preview Night and Preview Night Tickets
There will be a preview night on Tuesday October 24. The tickets for the preview are priced at €15, but in order to purchase tickets for the preview you must book via this link.
Denise Quinn again leads the cast as the indomitable Lady Bracknell. In addition W.D.S. has assembled a mix of very experienced, talented actors and some newcomers (also very talented). This production is an exciting venture for the cast and crew all of whom are buzzing with excitement and enjoying the rehearsal process which is going extremely well overseen by experienced director Frieda Ryan. W.D.S staged this play in the Theatre Royal in 1981 and as far as we know the play has not been staged publicly in Waterford since (excluding perhaps school productions).
Brian Tuohy (Jack), Adam O’Neill (Algernon), Kassie O’Mahony (Cecily), Emma O’Leary (Miss Prism), Bryan Costello (Lane) and Dearbhla O’Keeffe (Maid) are all new to W.D.S. Jen Cosgrove (Gwendolen), Paul Dillon (Dr.Chasuble) and John Moloney (Merriman) have appeared before in WDS productions.
Often regarded as representing the culmination of Wilde’s artistic career, this sublime comedy has been revived many times since its premiere in February 1895 in the St. James Theatre in London and has been adapted for cinema on three occasions. It is full of deliciously smart, witty and memorable one-liners uttered by outrageously funny and charming characters in an unlikely but comically agreeable scenario with a perfect conclusion.
The director Frieda Ryan has been involved in the Arts in Waterford since the late 1970s. Most of her work has been with Waterford Dramatic Society where she made her Waterford acting début as Mena Glavin in SIVE by J.B.Keane in 1980. She subsequently played roles in Irish classics such as The Playboy of the Western World by J.M Synge (Pegeen Mike), The Plough and the Stars (Bessie Burgess) and Juno and the Paycock (Mrs Tancred) by Seán O’Casey.
She worked on a number of other W.D.S. productions on and offstage over 3 decades including directing plays such as The Highest House on the Mountain, by J.B.Keane, Portrait of a Madonna by Tennessee Williams and The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, which toured to Inishbofin Island. Acting highlights include playing Big Maggie in Keane’s play of the same name (W.D.S.) and roles such as Catherine Petkoff in Arms and the Man by G.B. Shaw directed by Barry Cassin for Red Kettle Theatre Co. and also the Priest Figure in Talbot’s Box by Tom Kilroy directed by Jim Nolan also for Red Kettle. Her directing highlights were Perfidia by Jimmy Murphy and Baglady by Frank McGuinness for Red Kettle. In the latter she had the joy and privilege of directing Denise Quinn. They reprised the roles of director and actor for Bailegangaire in 2022 in a highly successful and acclaimed production in Garter Lane. She served on the W.D.S. committee and Red Kettle Board for many years. She taught in St. Angela’s School from 1973 to 2010 with a couple of breaks to pursue her love of theatre. She is very excited to be working again with Denise and a wonderful cast (many new to WDS) and crew on the scintillating costume comedy The Importance of Being Earnest by master playwright and wit, the incomparable Oscar Wilde.
Meet The Cast
Denise Quinn (Lady Bracknell)
Denise is well known to Waterford audiences having played many roles in many productions over the years. Some have been seriously dramatic, Mommo in the award winning Bailegangaire in 2022 and the title role in Baglady, also an award-winning production. In both of these productions Denise had the great pleasure of being directed by Frieda Ryan and is delighted to be working with Frieda again particularly as on this occasion the play is the sublime and enchanting The Importance of Being Earnest.
Denise will be equally well-known to Waterford’s theatre goers for her comedic talents most notably for her roles her own plays, Bardot Bites, Lucy Bastible and The Bluebell Stop.
Denise says she’s having a ball playing Lady Bracknell, one of Wilde’s most famous and outrageous comic creations. Floating haughtily above the action of the play’s other characters, Lady Bracknell is snooty, snobbish and gifted with some of the most witheringly funny lines. She is, Denise says, “an absolute joy and is letting me have some of the best fun I’ve had on stage for many years”.
Brian Tuohy (Jack)
Brian is from Dublin but has lived in Waterford the last several years. He started his acting career at the age of three months, when he played baby Anthony in Fair City. Since then he has played numerous roles in very many productions including
Harold Hill in The Music Man (Stagecoach), Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (Stagecoach), A-Rab in West Side Story (TheatreBox Productions), Will Parker in Oklahoma (Waterford Musical Society), Chip in Beauty and the Beast (Waterford Pantomime Society), Sonny in Grease (TheatreBox Productions), The Balladeer in Assassins (Dats De Y Productions), Usnavi in In The Heights (Ignite Productions), Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar (Southeastern Theatre Group), Kale in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Waterford Pantomime Society), Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (Waterford Musical Society), Buttons in Cinderella (Waterford Pantomime Society), Little John in Robin Hood (Waterford Pantomime Society), Will Parker in Oklahoma (Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society), Wattie in Sleeping Beauty (Waterford Pantomime Society), Georg in Spring Awakening (Southeastern Theatre Group) and Jack Jones in Jack and the Beanstalk (Waterford Pantomime Society). Brian also originated the role of Johnny McHenry in the Irish musical Find Your Way Home, which toured Boston, Albany and New York in July 2017.
Brian is having a great time delving into the role and world of Jack Worthing. Jack (Ernest in town) is a fine fellow who seeks to be content in life. He has wealth and status and is comfortable within his means, yet is still somewhat lost when it comes to where he belongs. Within the play, Jack acts as the perfect foil for all those around him, be it Algy, Gwendolyn or Lady Bracknell. While he is by no means a pushover, and can be just as witty as the next person, he seems to be somewhat ignorant of simple things, which can lead to rather a bit of bother for him.
Brian is having some of the best fun bringing Jack to life and hopes you all enjoy Ernest and his shenanigans as much as he has!
Adam O’Neill (Algernon)
Adam, a talented actor and singer, is well known in the South East having appeared in countless productions over the past decade. Among his many roles are Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof; Lt. Cable in South Pacific; The Beast in Beauty and the Beast; Link Larkin in Hairspray and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Most recently Adam originated the role of Cormac in Yesteryear.
This is Adam’s first venture with WDS and he is “having a blast” in taking on the challenge of playing Algernon, a gentleman, who despite appearances is penniless and “happens to be more than usually hard up.”
Kassie O’Mahony (Cecily)
18 year-old Kassie is currently studying English and Theatre Studies at SETU in Waterford. An experienced actor, Kassie’s theatre credits include roles in many Little Red Kettle productions between 2016 and 2019. More recently she has played Friar Laurence in a production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Jim Nolan, Dorothy in an interactive production of The Wizard of Oz and Bell in Darren Malone’s Yesteryear produced by Happy Robot theatre Company.
Kassie sees Cecily as intelligent, innocent and slightly blinded by love. Her imagination often runs wild with ideas of romance which she has no doubt taken from period novels. As an eighteen year old girl herself, Kassie enjoys tackling the nuances of a teenage mind and portraying them to an audience. Kassie says “sometimes I see parts of myself in Cecily, especially when she doesn’t want to learn her German!”.
Emma O’Leary (Miss Prism)
Originally from Mooncoin, Emma now lives in Tramore with her husband Martin and their two children Richie and Mollie and works as a Primary School Teacher in Scoil Mhuire Butlerstown. An experienced and award-winning actor, Emma began her acting career over 20 years ago in the Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir. Her first role in 2001 was that of Sheila Birling in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls for which she the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in the New Ross Drama Festival.
Emma has played a variety of roles in Brewery Lane productions, including Nora in The Plough and the Stars; Mary in The Year of the Hiker; Cora in It’s the Real McCoy and Franny in Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society’s The Witches of Eastwick. For Emma, her most memorable roles to date have been Girleen in Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West and Blanche DuBois in the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar named Desire.
This is Emma’s first time treading the boards with WDS and she is having great fun working with a fantastic director, cast and production team. She is absolutely thrilled to be playing the part of Miss Prism, a role she describes as “interesting, yet tricky especially when Miss Prism’s past comes back to haunt her!”.
Bryan Costello (Lane)
Bryan Costello is an actor and performer currently based in the South-East of Ireland and has recently finished his degree in Theatre Studies at SETU. Having acted in various regional theatre productions and having most recently performed in Bluebeard at the Theatre Royal in May, he is now relishing the opportunity to portray the character of Lane in this production and is delighted to be working with Waterford Dramatic Society.
Bryan has found working on the character of Lane a very rewarding experience so far and says that “while it can be occasionally difficult to flesh out a character and find different motivations behind the actions and words, applying a unique back story can definitely help with this process”. Traditionally played by an older actor, Bryan brings a more youthful energy to his portrayal of Lane without diverging from the original character created by Wilde.
Dearbhla O’Keeffe (Maid)
Dearbhla joined Waterford Dramatic Society as a crew member. This is her first venture into stage drama. A member of St. Mary’s Choral Society, Clonmel for a number of years before moving to Waterford, Dearbhla took part in numerous productions including Oaklahoma, Carousel, HMS Pinafore, Jesus Christ Superstar, Man of La Mancha and many more.
It was during an introductory meeting for volunteers that Dearbhla expressed an interest in a small supporting role and was given the part of the Maid.
Dearbhla says “This play is a lovely light-hearted comedy. I love the Victorian theme. It has a wonderful, simple storyline, full of humour, a bit of dishonesty, great characters and like all good plays, the happy ending”. Dearbhla is delighted to be part of the production of such an iconic play.
Jen Cosgrove (Gwendolen)
Jen has been involved in amateur theatre since she was young.
Her first production was The Snow Queen in 1998 with Waterford’s Stage Fright Theatre Co.
Previous work with Waterford Dramatic Society productions include Magic Moments by Seán Lawlor and directed by Frieda Ryan in 2014 and The Good Room by Clodagh Beresford Dunne and directed by Amelia Clancy in 2013.
She was involved with UCC Film Society’s improv sketches in 2012, most notably as Aggie the Hag.
Jennifer is a journalist and writer with The Irish Times. She currently has a beginner gardening column which she writes along with news and features articles.
Jen is excited to play Lady Gwendolyn Fairfax in this production. She describes Gwendolyn as “a bit of a know-it-all” who is prepared to march to the beat of her own drum and bend the rules to suit herself. Gwendolyn believes that she is the epitome of a well-bred Victorian lady and prides herself on being informed in the latest philosophies and fashions and says Jen “is full of ideals and ideas and sometimes not much else. I hope the audience have as much fun with her as I have”.
Paul Dillon (Dr.Chasuble)
Paul is an experienced actor having taken roles in many productions over the years in musicals, drama and occasionally film. He is presently to be seen on screen in
Waterford’s newest museum, the Irish Wake Museum in Cathedral Square.
His first role in a WDS production was in 1987 playing the role of John Rockefeller in Wind in the Branches of the Sassafras directed by the late Máirín Gilmartin. An accomplished musician, well known on the music scene in Waterford, Paul says he is chuffed to be cast once again in a WDS production.
Recognising that Wilde is satirising the English religious establishment in his creation of the frivolously naïve and innocent Dr. Chasuble, Paul also feels that Dr. Chasuble is detached from the ‘real world’. While quite proud of his sermonising abilities he is struggling to come to terms with his burgeoning romantic feelings for the prim and proper Miss Prism and as Paul says “Whatever way I play him, it has to be funny!”.
John Moloney (Merriman)
John is a musician, actor and artist. He has performed in productions of Sister Act; Sister Act II; Man of La Mancha and Fiddler on the Roof. John has also played Tom Carey in Wife to James Whelan by Theresa Deevy and Theseus in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other productions include, Crossways; Macbeth and The Midnight Hotel. John has previously worked with WDS playing the young Desmond Drumm in their production of Hugh Leonard’s A Life.
John says that the main appeal of playing Merriman the butler is that the nature of his employment means that he is playing a person who is himself playing a person. A performance of a performance, so to speak, involving a well-practised manner and interactions with his employers that are necessarily formal and within a strict set of rules and conventions. Behind this mask of convention Merriman is keeping tabs on all the juicy gossip & mini-dramas that unfold in his presence.