A comedy about a drama therapy class in an imaginary prison.
Picture an imaginary prison where the drama therapy is twenty fours a day. Drama therapist, Lady Lancing, has dedicated her life to conducting anti-homophobic workshops utilizing the life and works of Oscar Wilde.
The Importance of Nothing is partly inspired by Wilde’s period in prison. In 1895, Wilde was convicted of homosexual activity and sentenced to the maximum penalty: two years of hard labour. The experience had a strong impact on his flamboyant personality, manifested in De Produndis, a long letter to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde wrote the letter close to the end of his imprisonment. In it, he reconsiders his lifestyle and describes his cathartic journey in jail, making for a gloomy contrast to his renowned credo of pleasure. Upon his release, he fled to Paris where he died at the age of 46, impoverished.
The Importance of Nothing can be seen as a contemporary reflection on Wilde at large: his works, his life and the conventions of his time. The play interweaves passages from Wilde’s plays and poems, real-life stories from Mark O’Halloran and Andrew Bennett growing up gay in Ennis and Limerick, and the harsh realities of prison-life. Wilde’s sharp humour permeates The Importance of Nothing but the undertone is a deep consideration of the many troubles of human life.
“Pain unlike pleasure wears no mask” Oscar Wilde
Director: Gavin Quinn Set Design: Aedín Cosgrove
Lighting Design: Zia Holly
Music: Si Schroeder
Costumes: Catherine Fay
Cast: Andrew Bennett, Sonya Kelly, Mark O’Halloran, Anna Shiels McNamee and Dylan Tighe