Washington, DC, June 23, 2010 — The Directors of SCENA Theatre are pleased to announce the final production in their 2009-10 season: Oscar Wilde's hilarious and timeless comedy about gender and class, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Artistic Director, Robert McNamara, likens Oscar Wilde as an Irish “outsider” who subverted and exposed the underbelly of the English society and establishment. McNamara stated, “Oscar Wilde, much like Steven Berkoff in our last production of Sink the Belgrano!, is a master at mimicking the idiosyncrasies of England's elite. SCENA's production offers patrons an interesting — and humorous — investigation of the upper class.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) revels in the “double life”. In one sense, Wilde criticizes the moral hypocrisy of the elite. In another sense, he celebrates the inventiveness of creating an alter-ego who is free to revel in pleasure, outside of society’s mores. Both dualities are tested when thrust into the context of status, marriage, and love. A simple engagement proposal turns into a comedy of errors, and what was initially certain becomes deliciously muddled in this production’s topsy-turvy world of gender-bending. Moreover, SCENA’s version of Earnest transports Wilde’s frivolity to the 1920's at fictitious “Oxbridge” university.

Official Run:   Earnest: July 31 – Aug 29 (Thurs – Sat: 8pm; Sun: 3pm) 

Location: H Street Playhouse, 1365 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press Info: Email, 

Phone 410.627.4454 or

Click on Press link (at left) for Photos

Ticket Prices: $25 - $40 ($18 on Thursdays for Young Professionals 30 & under)

Box Office:   Buy tickets online at or call 703-683-2824

FUN EVENTS: Drag Days of Summer” – complimentary drinks, food, and music after select performances. 

Patrons will enjoy mingling with the cast and are welcome to dress as the opposite sex.

(Next "Drag Days": Saturday Aug 28 after the 8pm show.)

Thirsty Thursdays” return to introduce great international works to a new generation. 

Young professionals will receive a discount ticket and a free drink at any Thursday show.

Cast & Crew: The cast of Earnest includes well-known Washington-area actors such as Anne Nottage, Sara Barker, Brian Hemmingsen, John Robert Keena, Tyler Herman, Stacy Whittle, Ellie Nicoll, Mary Suib and Kim Curtis. The Design team is Michael C. Stepowany (Set), Alisa Mandel (Costumes), Andrew Griffin (Lights), Matt Otto (Sound), Erik Trester (Projections), Seth Finkle (Production), and Kristy Matero (Stage Manager, member AEA). 

Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Trinity College and Oxford University where he became an advocate for the aesthetic movement: “art for art’s sake”. Wilde’s celebrated works include The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Critic as Artist, An Ideal Husband, and Lady Windermere’s Fan. His flamboyant personality, dress, and rumored homosexuality caused a great stir in Victorian England. He had great success as a playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist, but his reputation was severely marred by his conviction of “Gross Indecency” in a grueling public trial. Humiliated and sentenced to jail with hard labor, Wilde fell ill in prison and never recovered. Shortly after his release from prison at age 46, Oscar Wilde died in Paris, destitute and alone. 

About SCENA Theatre 

SCENA brings the best in international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please click on the "About Scena" link to your left.