The Importance of Being Earnest

Puns get a bad rap these days. They’ve somehow become known as the lowest rung on the laugh ladder, but a clever play on words has a well-earned place in the history of humor. Just check out the dialogue in any episode of Arrested Development, or the work of Oscar Wilde. There’s a pun right in the title of one of his most famous works, the 1895 play The Importance of Being Earnest. The entire piece is full of distinctive Wilde wit, poking fun at social trappings of the time. When you realize how much of what’s funny is dependent on being a product of its time, it’s a testament to Wilde’s work that Earnest is still being performed—like for the coming month at Long Beach Playhouse.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 4. Continues through Oct. 9, 2010

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