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Bethel College to present "The Importance of Being Earnest" during Fall Festival

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Theater students at Bethel College in North Newton will present the comic play "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde four times during the college’s Fall Festival, Oct. 7-10. Director is Brent Noel, assistant professor of communication arts. Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 8, 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 and 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 10 in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and adults 65 and older and $6.50 for children ages 3-12. All seats are reserved and sell-outs are expected. For tickets, call Thresher Bookstore ticket line at (316) 284-5281.

Featuring a cast of nine characters living in Victorian England, the play revolves around the name "Earnest," which both of the leading men claim as their own in attempts to win the hearts of two young ladies, both of whom insist they could only love a man if his name were Earnest. The plot swirls into a comic slurry of marriage proposals and discovered identities, concluding in the realization of "the vital importance of being earnest."

"At first glance the play is a cute little comedy," said Noel. "But if you take the time to look a little deeper, it becomes a biting indictment of imperial attitudes. The characters are so busy trying to project an image, trying to impress those around them, that they lose sight of who they really are."

The cast is Ben Gundy, senior from Bluffton, Ohio, as John Worthing; Aaron Linscheid, sophomore from North Newton, as Algernon Moncreiff; Andrew Findley, freshman from Lawrence, as Rev. Canon Chausuble, D.D.; Shawn Michael Rath, sophomore from Moundridge, as Merriman; Parker Jameson Stanley, sophomore from Liberty, Mo., as Lane; Bridget Kratzer, junior from North Newton, as Lady Bracknell; Rachel Combs, senior from Inman, as Hon. Gwendolyn Fairfax; Rachel Hetzke, junior from Pawnee Rock, as Cecily Cardew; and Caitlin Buerge, freshman from Kansas City, Mo., as Miss Prism.

Bethel College hosts its 34th annual Fall Festival Oct. 7-10. Other weekend activities on campus include food and entertainment for all ages, arts and crafts, alumni gatherings and athletic events.

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