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Colby-Sawyer College's Production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest' Features Student Cast and the Design Talents of Artist Tomie dePaola

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer College's Fine and Performing Arts Department presents “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a comedy written by Oscar Wilde, on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. at the Sawyer Center Theater. Tickets can be reserved at or at the mailroom in Ware Student Center, Monday to Friday, from noon to 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free with a Colby-Sawyer ID. ­ Directed by Assistant Professor of Fine and Performing Arts Suzanne Delle, the performance features a set designed by New London, N.H., resident Tomie dePaola, one of the world's most prolific and popular children's authors and illustrators. “Mr. dePaola has an amazing breadth of knowledge of theater and theater history,” said Professor Delle. “He [has] approached this project wanting to break out of the confines of the traditional box set that is often seen for this play.”

Professor Delle credits dePaola for the fresh design that will complement the student performance. “With [him], we are exploring the idea of theatricality and how these characters are always performing, giving our production a slightly meta look and feel,” said Professor Delle. “The audience will recognize [his] signature style in the design of the show, but will be surprised at how he has transformed the world of the play.”

Colby-Sawyer's production will not only feature a modern and stylized set design, but also a contemporary look at the play's characters and themes. “Love, marriage and inheritance all hinge on who can rightly be called Earnest in the play,” said Professor Delle. “We will take these themes and stylize them through design and acting choices for a modernized view of these characters.”

The all-student cast includes Heather Dion '16 as the disapproving Lady Bracknell, Jaqueline Quint '17 and Molly Paone '15 as young ladies looking for love with a man named Earnest, and Bibek Thapa '17 and Zachary Melisi '17 playing the love interests, who both pin their romantic hopes on being christened Earnest. “Colby-Sawyer student actors are enjoying the challenge of tackling Wilde's language and wit,” said Delle.

With a deep appreciation for Wilde's comedic style, Professor Delle looks forward to sharing the distinctive perspective of the gifted playwright with the community. “Wilde wrote “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1895 to help promote his life view of art for art's sake,” said Professor Delle. “A writer but also a critic, Wilde uses his comedic plays to satirize the upper classes of London and urge people not to take themselves too seriously. Known as a trivial comedy for serious people, the play asks questions about identity as all the characters have their secrets amid the elusive truth.”

- Anurup Upadhyay '15

Anurup Upadhyay is a business major at Colby-Sawyer College and a student writer for College Communications.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

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