by Lynn on July 21, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

From Talk Is Free Theatre, Barrie, Ont.

This Spring, Mike Nadajewski, gifted theater actor, singer, theatre creator, took The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and had his impish, imaginative way with it for on-line viewing.

He adapted the play into delicious bits in which the viewer (audience) watches scenes from the play, acted by Nadajewski and his equally talented wife Glynis Ranney, with many opportunities for the audience to decide how the play should proceed. Nadajewski did not ‘change’ the play. He just gives the audience options to pick how the play should continue.

For example, Jack Worthing (Mike Nadajewski) is in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax (Glynis Ranney) and she with him. He wants to propose but she has a problem with his first name. She doesn’t know his name is Jack. He uses the name Earnest. (Don’t ask…it’s Wilde, go with the flow). She likes the name Earnest. She confesses that she could not accept the proposal of a man named “Jack.” So two boxes appear on the screen and the audience must chose how to proceed. Box 1 says “I must get married at once” and Box 2 says “I must get christened at once.” Depending on how the audience choses, that is the scene that plays next strictly according to Wilde’s text. There are three kinds of proposals from which the audience chooses. It’s great fun, and certainly when you can go back and watch Episode One again changing your choices.

The scenes are filmed in a tasteful drawing room with both Nadajewski and Ranney in elegant garb appropriate for the play. The acting between the two is ‘chaste’ and proper but there is an underlying current of sensuality. As Jack, Mike Nadajewski is the soul of good manners. He looks like a shy puppy as he expresses his love for Gwendolyn. Glynis Ranney, as Gwendolyn is a master of looking demur and batting her eyelashes for full effect. Her side-long looks away from Jack only drive him wilder (every pun intended).

The endeavor is clever, funny and masterful in every way. I trust more episodes are on the way but do check out this first one.

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