Raph Recommends: The Importance of Being Earnest

Raph al Guul

The Blueprint Masquerades have been around for three years now, born out of what seemed to be the end of the long-lived English drama group altogether. Noone really remembers the rocky start of the bpm, in part because the first year did not see the performance that had been planned and worked toward, as it faltered due to copyright issues. So it happened that the newly rebranded drama group only kicked into gear with its debut on the big stage in 2013, performing (F)Ailing (T)Errors, a play written by fellow student Lisann Anders, to such success that the only seriously critical opinions I have heard to this day were those of the actors themselves. To follow up on such a well-received first effort is obviously a tremendously difficult task; as someone who was and is involved in both productions (in fact, I have even been on retainer for that first, uneventful year – but noone remembers that, of course), let me explain to you why I recommend The Importance of Being Earnest, the upcoming play staged by the Blueprint Masquerades.

First and foremost, the group has learned from the past project. As I already mentioned, the most critical voices came from the performers themselves, and as much as we were happy to be received so well, we knew that things could have gone more smoothly. To understand how to properly plan, prepare, and execute a large stage production, it helps to have done it before. Consequently, we have been able to further separate concerns of logistics, finances, marketing, etc. from the actual magic on stage. In essence, actors and directors (yes, we have several) can concentrate more on perfecting what you will eventually see on the stage, while a whole crew of dedicated, criminally underappreciated students and friends ensure that this will indeed happen.

Speaking of dedication, perhaps the biggest credit to a drama group like ours is that we all do this for the sake of doing it. While we do need to raise money to be able to afford the stage, not only for performances, but also for rehearsals, none of us are getting paid for the countless hours we sink into this production every week. Most of us are simultaneously studying and even working part time, and that must be a testament of the Blueprint Masquerades’ dedication to drama. To us, this is a passion first and foremost, and this will translate onto the stage in the same way it did the previous year.

Unlike the previous year, however, I will not be on that stage myself – and I’m glad, because otherwise, this article would feel a whole lot more like constantly yelling “come see me!” The consequence is that actors much more proficient than myself will have the stage to themselves. Many of them have appeared and impressed in the previous production already, but the new talent we were able to recruit does not fail to convince, either. In fact, every rehearsal I attend makes me feel glad I don’t have to stand up there with my lack of talent and my two right feet. It’s really not so much a matter of me recommending the project to you, I am myself genuinely excited to see the finished product, albeit from backstage, rather than the audience.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Now, I know. It says “Raph Recommends: The Importance of Being Earnest” in the title, but I haven’t even really mentioned the play itself yet. Well, it’s not exactly an obscure piece, is it. For those who don’t know: The Importance of Being Earnest is “Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece” (in the words of Martin Mühlheim, whom most of you will know). Though a nineteenth century play, this comedy aged very well, in my personal opinion, and it remains as funny as I imagine it must have been a hundred years ago. Wilde strikes a very pleasing balance between comic entertainment and an underlying criticism of a society ruled by superficiality, a trait that The Importance of Being Earnest shares with the author’s work in general. The play’s subtitle dubs it “a trivial comedy for serious people,” an apt, yet perhaps curious description, in itself half true and half joke, which is programmatic for the entirety of the piece.

I believe that the Blueprint Masquerades have what it takes to surpass high expectations; with the experience from an already successful project, dedicated and passionate contributors on stage and behind the scenes, talented actors, and an incredibly funny, yet smart piece of literature to interpret, I can guarantee a worthwhile evening at the theater. Tickets are on sale now, and I hear that some of the performance dates are already sold out, so I recommend you be quick with your reservations. Additionally, I am pleased to offer one free premiere ticket to a student with particularly journalistic aspirations. If you are willing to write and publish a review of the performance on the ZEST, contact me for further details, and we will grant you free entry to the premiere performance on Saturday, March 29. I would take advantage of this offer myself, but unfortunately they wouldn’t let me – “conflict of interest” or something. That’s why I wrote this recommendation beforehand, to ensure we’ll see each other after the shows, which will take place as follows:

Saturday, March 29 20:00
Sunday, March 30 18:00
Friday, April 4 20:00
Saturday, April 5 20:00

And in case you’d like a taste in advance or more information in general, I happen to be in charge of all video production for the Blueprint Masquerades and I have produced quite a bit of material from the play, as well as from behind the scenes, which I encourage you to have a look at. In fact, I myself will appear in a video set to be released in a week, featuring some more shameless (because there is no reason to be ashamed) promotion. See you at the theater.


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