DALLAS, TEX.: Did you ever want to party with Oscar Wilde’s characters? Well, now in Lee Trull’s Wilde/Earnest, you can. “I wanted to make something that didn’t look or seem like a play at all. I wanted to make a party,” says Trull of his contemporary reboot of The Importance of Being Earnest.
For his Wilde reimagining, which he’s directing in its world-premiere run at Kitchen Dog Theater March 13–April 18, Trull’s added an ounce of music from local bands (as well as Dallas songwriter Jencey Keeton), a dash of choreographed trampoline routines and (as an additional twist), roller skates.
Kitchen Dog, where Trull is a longtime company member, has a history of casting a fresh eye on classical plays. From Shakespeare to Ionesco, the company has a knack for deconstructing and remixing well-known works. Not to mention that the theatre’s name is a reference from Waiting for Godot.
In Wilde/Earnest, Trull found deeper themes of social constructs and unbalanced class structures that resonate still within 21st-century America, repackaging them into a delightful story about four attractive hipsters who sit around and talk too much. “Using Wilde’s masterpiece as a jumping-off point, we are scrutinizing the new rules of modern society, while exposing the lies and absurdities of how those rules are created,” says Trull, a longtime local actor whose day job is as director of new play development at Dallas Theater Center.
Trull promises that you will recognize much of the plot, up to the ending, but with the collaborative team he’s assembled, audiences will be pleased and surprised with the way it unfolds. “This is my argument for Earnest being a larger play,” says Trull, “and an important play that’s still relevant—but one that can be done in bubblegum colors.