Putnam County Playhouse audition scenes for
The Importance of Being Earnest.
Page numbers refer to the Dover Thrift Edition of the play.
1 Act I
p. 10-11 Jack
“Personally darling, to speak quite candidly …
“It suits you …
… experience in how to propose.” (Stop)
2 Act II
p. 25-26 Prism
(Start) “You are too much alone, dear Dr. …”
“Believe me, I do not …
… us to the schools.” (Stop)
3 Act II
p. 32-33 Algernon
(Start) “Did I give you this?”
“Yes, you’ve wonderfully good taste …”
…one whose name was Earnest.” (Stop)
4 Act II
p. 38 Gwendolen
(Start) “Personally I cannot understand …
“ Ah! This is what the newspapers …
…to make in the neighborhood.” (Stop)
5 Act II
p. 41-42 Algernon –
(Start) “I don’t think there is much likelihood …
“Well, that is no business …”
“Algy, I wish to goodness you would go.” (Stop)
6 Act III
p. 44-46 Gwendolen –
(Start) “For my sake you are prepared…
ALSO: Merriman, Cecily, Jack, Algernon
“ . . . a peculiarly unnecessary manner.” (Stop)
Please be prepared to perform the scenes above; no other preparation is requested.
All three audition days are equivalent;
there are no separate callback days.
Some roles can be played by male or female actors.
Plus a chorus of 2-4 additional servants who need to be able to move
well and execute specific choreography
of changing around the furniture.
In the auditions, I will be looking for evidence of preparation, ability
to use language well, willingness to extend physical choices, ability to
listen actively, and desire to work well with the other artists.
The Cast of Characters:
John “Jack” Worthing: Jack is the play’s protagonist and the play’s most sympathetic character. He was found in a handbag on a railway line, and feels less at home in aristocratic society than does Algernon. He lives in the country but has invented a wicked brother named “Ernest” whose scrapes require Jack’s attendance in the city.
Algernon Moncrieff: Algernon, the foil to Jack, is a hedonist who has created a friend named Bunbury whose status as a permanent invalid allows Algernon to leave the city whenever he pleases. He believes this activity, “Bunburying,” is necessary, especially if one is going to get married-something he vows never to do.
Lady Bracknell: Lady Bracknell is the antagonist of the play, blocking both potential marriages. She embodies typical Victorian classism; she does not allow Gwendolen to marry Jack when she finds out he is an orphan, and she dislikes Cecily as a mate for her nephew Algernon until she learns that Cecily is wealthy.
Gwendolen Fairfax: Gwendolen is Lady Bracknell’s daughter, and is the object of Jack’s romantic attention. Though she returns his love, Gwendolen appears self-centered and flighty. Like Cecily, she desires nothing but to marry someone named Ernest.
Cecily Cardew: Cecily is Jack’s ward and lives with him in the country. Young and pretty, she is favored by Algernon, who pretends to be Jack’s brother Ernest. Cecily has heard about this brother, and has written correspondences between the two of them for months by the time she meets Algernon/Ernest. Like Gwendolen, she is only interested in marrying a man named Ernest.
Miss Prism: Miss Prism is the Cecily’s governess. She obviously loves Chasuble, though the fact that he is a priest prohibits her from telling him so directly.
Lane: Algernon’s butler delivers a number of droll lines which show that he is far from a passive servant.
Chasuble: A rector, Chasuble frequently visits Jack’s country house to see Miss Prism. Though he is celibate, he seems well matched for the educated Miss Prism.
Merriman: Jack’s butler, Merriman has a less significant role than Lane has, but in one scene he and another servant force the bickering Gwendolen and Cecily to maintain supposedly polite conversation.