Senior Carlee Beth Fields directs playful Victorian play, set in modern day

Jan 31, 2014

North Central College students will perform “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a sparkling comedy of manners written by one of the most celebrated wits of the 19th century, Oscar Wilde.

Three performances of “The Importance of Being Earnest” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13-15 in the theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. Tickets are $5/adults and $3 students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

A Victorian era social satire, “The Importance of Being Earnest” follows millionaire playboys, Jack and Algernon, in a playful and witty romp of mistaken identity, high society and pretty women.

“I’ve been incredibly blessed to be able to direct my favorite play of all time,” says senior Carlee Beth Fields of Clinton, Ill., a theatre and Spanish major who's directing the production.

“As I read the script, I couldn’t help but notice similarities in language and pacing between ‘Earnest’ and the comedic TV show ‘Gilmore Girls,’” says Fields. “Using my artistic freedom as director, I decided to merge the two worlds for this production. Audiences will see a classical text set against the backdrop of modern New England, where old money and society still reign supreme. My hope is that people will walk away with the sense that the past is not that far behind us and that these characters, fortunately or not, are people who exist.”

The cast features (role, actor, town, year, major):
Jack Worthing: Alex Moerer of Waverly, Iowa, a freshman majoring in theatre
Algernon Moncrieff: Jack Morsovillo of Franklin Park, a freshman majoring in theatre
Cecily Cardew: Samantha Hess of Decatur, Mich., a sophomore majoring in musical theatre
Gwendolen Fairfax: Enya Wenk of Naperville, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre
Lady Bracknell: Emma Smith of Downers Grove, a junior majoring in theatre and psychology
Miss Prism: Natasha White of Elk Grove Village, a junior majoring in broadcast communication
Rev. Chasuble: Abe Vences of Berwyn, a junior majoring in music and musical theatre
Merriman: Jeff Petrick of Naperville, a senior majoring in global studies/East Asia
Lane: Zoe Roechner of Joliet, a freshman majoring in musical theatre

The crew includes:
Stage manager: Brittney Collins of Sullivan, Ill., a sophomore majoring in theatre
Assistant stage manager: Noelle Humbert of Geneva, a sophomore majoring in theatre and broadcast communication
Set designer: Liz Havenga of Downers Grove, a junior majoring in studio art and theatre
Costume designer: Carlee Beth Fields
Lighting designer: Katie Fecht of Toluca, a senior majoring in theatre and human resource management
Sound designer: Taylor Lauster of Romeoville, a sophomore majoring in chemical microscopy
Props designer: Briana Tobin of Shorewood, a sophomore majoring in theatre

This production is part of North Central’s Student Director Series. In the Student Director Series, members of the College’s theatre faculty invite students to submit a proposal to direct their own theatrical productions and the best are chosen.

North Central College offers majors in theatre or musical theatre and a minor in dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and nonmusical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College’s four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty.

North Central College’s 2013-2014 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by USG Corporation and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Season supporters include BMO Harris, Bulley & Andrews, Casa by Charleston, Grant Thornton, J.P. Morgan, Main Street Promenade, Marquette Properties, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Turner Construction Company, U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve and Water Street Development.