* 2008 -- acting & directing classes [ scenes ]

[ w ] well-made play : "take 3" [ unities ] --

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest exaggerates many of the conventions of the well-made play, such as the missing papers conceit (the hero, as an infant, was confused with the manuscript of a novel) and a final revelation (which, in this play, occurs about thirty seconds before the final curtain).

Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House follows most of the conceits of the well-made play, but transcends the genre when, after incriminating papers are recovered, Nora (rather shockingly) rejects the expected return to normality. Several of Ibsen's subsequent plays seem to build on the general construction principles of the Well-Made Play.

+ chekhov

... and Shaw


... video [bottom]

An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable. -- George Bernard Shaw Other Wilde pages (theory, acting, directing)
WWWilde Group -- Acting One class online!

Featured Pages: The Biomechanics

"The Importance of Being Earnest" opened at the St. James's Theatre on 14 Febrary 1895, but was withdrawn on 8 May, after only 66 performances.




Nineteenth-century Irish-born writer and intellectual Oscar Wilde led an eccentric life that fueled his witty satires and epigrams on Victorian society. A member of the aesthetic movement in literature, Wilde advocated the idea of art for art’s sake. This selection comes from “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898), a poem inspired by the 18-month period Wilde spent in jail. [Encarta]


Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.
[ The Ballad of Reading Gaol ] Wilde made his reputation in the theatre world between the years 1892 and 1895 with a series of highly popular plays. Lady Windermere's Fan (1892) dealt with a blackmailing divorcée driven to self-sacrifice by maternal love. In A Woman of No Importance (1893) an illegitimate son is torn between his father and mother. An Ideal Husband (1895) dealt with blackmail, political corruption and public and private honor. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was about two fashionable young gentlemen and their eventually successful courtship. Before his theatrical success Wilde produced several essays. His two major literary-theoretical works were the dialogues "The Decay of Lying" (1889) and "The Critic as Artist" (1890).


Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel at the age of 46. “If, with the literate, I am Impelled to make an epigram, I never seek to take the credit; We all assume that Oscar said it.” Dorothy Parker

Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: Stories, Plays, Poems and Essays
Born in 1856, Oscar Wilde was a noted essayist, playwright, fairy tale writer and poet, as well as an early leader of the Aesthetic Movement. His plays include: An Ideal Husband, Salome, A Woman of No Importance, and Lady Windermere's Fan. Among his best known stories are The Picture of Dorian Gray(CPN 1095) and The Canterville Ghost(SWC 2051).

Oscar Wilde's Wit and Wisdom : A Book of Quotations (Dover Thrift Editions)

Oscar Wilde Richard Ellmann capped an illustrious career in biography (his James Joyce is considered one of the masterpieces of the 20th century) with this life of Oscar Wilde, which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize on its original publication in 1988. Ellmann's account of Wilde's extravagantly operatic life as poet, playwright, aesthete, and martyr to sexual morality is notable not only for the full portrait it gives of Wilde, but also for Ellmann's assessment of his subject's literary greatness; both aims are served by a plethora of quotations from Wilde's own work and correspondence. Wilde straddled the line between the Victorian age and the modern world as he did everything in life ... with impeccable style.

Wilde (Special Edition) (1998) DVD

An Ideal Husband Drama Study Guides : sparknotes *

Oscar Wilde : "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he'll tell you the truth." [playwrighting]

... R/G are Dead 2008 : "wit tradition" [ ... ]

* BioMechanics

Oscar Wilde

Scenes and monologues are on acting and directing pages... Wilde-Acting
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Read "The Importance of Being Earnest"

See PLAYS directory

Modern and Postmodern pages

Virtual Oscar: I intend to direct Wilde in the Style of the Biomechanics: everything choreographed as if the characters watch themselves in the mirrors, walls as mirrors (we have cameras and big screens on stage). "Romance with myself" -- said Nuriev. Also, Life as Art. Art of Living. Not a behavior, but a performance. Sometimes they become the images on the screen only (see the Director's cut of the play). Sometimes the images (reflections) have their own independent life! When they disapear?

The End. Only the images are left, the live actors are gone. Brecht? The actors watching the characters who live on the screen (Pirandello).

What about the prop?

To get the sense of "genderless" world, I would do a Shakespearian trick; all male cast. Very risky.


Director's Notes
Oscar Wilde died 100 years ago. In fact, he died on 30 November 1900 in Paris.

The writer of the comedies had no happy end in his own life. "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art," wrote Wilde and the famous motto "Art for Art's Sake" was his life. In 1895 after the opening of "The Importance of Being Earnest" Oscar Wilde was arrested, tried and sentenced to hard labor for "indecencies" -- he was gay. He came out of prison only to leave England and die.

"I am working at dramatic art because it's the democratic art and I want fame." And he had it, the fame. "The importance of Being Earnest," is considered the most perfect of modern comedies So perfect that he even found a way mocking the conventions of melodrama, his own genre. Well, Wilde saw life as performance and treated the world as a figment of his imagination. "The destiny of me," he wrote. Oh, his comedies are not just funny, they are serious, if you dare to notice it. Perhaps, he can help us to have a comic look at the serious matters of celebrating of individualism today in America.

"The English have really everything in common with the Americans, except of course language..." To stage Wilde is to learn it, the language. We try to do it in our, American way, this production is another show at UAF in developing new medium of Virtual Theatre. What is vTheatre? Come and see it!

Plays @ ANT Theatre

WWWilde @ Theatre Theory Directory, postmodern view.

Turn of the century: Wilde and Chekhov


I use WWWilde Forum for Fundamentals of Acting class (Fall 2002). [Maybe the whole play at the end for finals.]

Scenes and monologues in class ("The Importance of Being Easnest" as a showcase). "Actor's text" samples. Where is the magic line between drama language and performance?


WWWilde directory. Class questions?

Character analysis, scene structure, plot and story, composition and etc.


Scenes and monologues from the play are used for Acting and Directing classes (comedy as genre).

Start with the dramatic analysis!

Self-made Man, according to Oscar Wilde : "I am my own masterpiece!"

... concept [ description ] Personal Life as a material for creativity.
Next: the show
Fall 2003: see script.vtheatre.net/413

"I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age... The gods had given me almost everything. I had genius, a distinguished name, high social position, brilliancy, intellectual daring; I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art: I altered the minds of men and the colour of things: there was nothing I said or did that did not make people wonder... I treated Art as the supreme reality, and life as a mere mode of fiction: I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me: I summed up all systems in a phrase, and all existence in an epigram."

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. [ The Picture of Dorian Gray ]

It is through Art and through Art only that we can realize our perfection; through Art and Art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence. [ Art ]

Wilde Aesthetics and Aesthetism : "Art for Art's Sake"


Aestheticism and philosophy :" "decadent"


Wilde Oscar Wilde : 100 years later... our take on Earnest.

wwilde files : new : 2007 : concept :

How small is the place we explored so far! From oedipus to Earnest (bag and fate) to Rosencratz and Guildenstern (ID, creation of Self and other PoMo issues). And the true artist breaks new grounds...

video [youtube.com -- oscar wilde]

Importance [trailer]

Wilde quotes