SCENA extends its wildly successful comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, by the renowned Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.

Washington, DC - June 28, 2011 — The Directors of SCENA Theatre are pleased to extend their hit production, The Importance of Being Earnest, through August 21st, 2011. This hilarious classic by Oscar Wilde is drawing large houses yet again this summer for SCENA. Last August, this production played to sold-out houses for 5 weeks and garnered record attendance for a single SCENA production (which was recently topped by SCENA’s Helen Hayes-recommended production of The Weir in May).

Earnest will now run through Sunday August 21st, with performances on Thursday – Saturday at 8pm and on Sundays at 3pm. The entire cast and production team was reunited for this summer's remount, except for two supporting actor roles. 


Oscar Wilde's timeless tale of class and marriage both revels in and mocks the "double life." The main character Jack creates an alter ego personality to indulge in pleasure outside of society's mores. On one level, Wilde criticizes the moral hypocrisy of the British upper class. On another, he celebrates the inventiveness of creating an alter ego who is free to revel in pleasure. Both dualities are tested when thrust into the context of status, marriage, and love. Ironically, Wilde was similar to Britain's elite — he was a closet homosexual who was married and had a child.


The play's plot is full of twists and turns, and many characters actually possess gender qualities typical of the opposite sex. So, SCENA Theatre celebrates these dualities with cross-gender casting. Strong female characters are played by men; stylish, effeminate male characters are played by women. 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.


Further, this production is re-set in the roaring 1920s to further celebrate a liberating era where many women were free to act like men — smoking, drinking, and copulating. In the end, patrons will realize that "all is not as it seems" on the surface.  Artistic Director, Robert McNamara likens Wilde to an "Irish outsider” who subverted and exposed the underbelly of English society and establishment. McNamara said, “Wilde is a master at mimicking the idiosyncrasies of the upper class, and we are simply taking that concept a giant step forward.”

Official Run:  July 14 – August 21, 2011 (Thurs. – Sat. 8pm; Sun. 3pm)


1365 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

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Phone: 571.216.5136, or

Click: on Press link (at left) for Photos

Price: $16 - $40 

Tickets: Click on Tickets link at left or

Reserve by Phone 703-683-2824.

Parking: Valet Parking is available at 1353 H Street NE (at the Rock & Roll Hotel – same side of the street as the Playhouse). If driving, side-street parking is suggested (Maryland Ave, 10th–12th Streets, etc.). Also, the X2 Metrobus runs down H Street. Visit for schedules.

Events: Thirsty Thursdays” introduce great international works to a new generation. Patrons 30 & under get a discounted $18 ticket plus a free drink at any Thursday show.

Deals: Nonprofit Nights” – $20 tickets for all staff at nonprofits & associations (except Thur. June 9 & Sat. June 25). Please present business cards for discount. 

Student Specials” – $16 tickets for all Students (except "Gala" special event). Please show student IDs for discount. 

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.

Cast & Crew: The cast of Earnest includes accomplished DC actors such as Brian Hemmingsen, Anne Nottage, Sara Barker, Tyler Herman, Edward C Nagel, Sissel Bakken, Stacy Whittle, Mary Suib, and Kim Curtis.

The Design team is Michael C. Stepowany (Set), Alisa Mandel (Costumes), Andrew Griffin (Lights), Matt Otto (Sound), Eric Trester (Projections), and Kate Kilbane (Stage).

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and to 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 call 703.684.7990 or visit