“What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise,” wrote Oscar Wilde in his beloved, satirical play The Importance of Being Earnest. That was borne out in real life during Principia College’s production of the very same play, this spring.
During the closing night performance, Matthew Rice, who played the lead role of Jack Worthing/Ernest, fell ill and was unable to continue. That’s when Nathan Babcock sprang into action from the audience. A theater minor who had attended two of the previous performances, Nathan was able to perform the role, script in hand, to great acclaim.
Despite the last-minute change, the cast remained committed to the show and the story, and the support from the entire audience was palpable. Director Chrissy Steele noted that the audience felt like they had a stake in the production and were a part of the show, adding to the overall feeling of love in the theater. The production featured a predominantly younger cast with three freshmen and three sophomores. In addition to a younger cast, there were five international students whose first language was not English.
Fittingly, the performance was dedicated to the memory of Richard Morse, a beloved professor who taught for many years in the Department of Theatre & Dance. Despite the challenges, the performance was a testament to the power of theater and the dedication of those involved in bringing a story to life on stage. A blessing in disguise!