Reality reflected art at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester on 13 February 2020 as director Bryan Hodgson saved the day by stepping into the role of “Graham de Hare” in the reimagined production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
The director raced back to Cirencester on the day of the performance and had just a few hours of rehearsals on the stage before he made his debut in the role, which saw him play some of Oscar Wilde’s beloved characters such as Lady Bracknell, Cecily Cardew and the title character, Ernest.
The story follows stage manager (Kevin McKinnon) and producer (Graham de Hare) as they step into an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest when they are forced to perform when their cast have not arrived. The premise was mimicked in real life, as the director was forced to step in to one of the roles to ensure the show went ahead.
In an interview with Riverside Radio, Hodgson had joked that he would have to go on if one of the cast was not available and said that he “doesn’t know it that well”. The performance ended up being a resounding success with even an audience member commenting on Facebook, “We have just come back from seeing tonight’s performance and I have to say how overwhelmed I am at how superb it was! Both Aidan and Bryan were superb. Couldn’t believe Bryan only stepped in at the last minute today. We thoroughly recommend. Completely transported for a couple of hours.”
Bryan Hodgson said of yesterday’s events that “Yesterday was the most surreal time I’ve ever had! The entire company were so supportive, and got me through it with smiles and hugs. The actual show was a hoot – especially being able to ACTUALLY present the concept of the show in real life – someone having to step into the show about someone having to step into the show with only a moments notice. Art imitating life, or life imitating art eh?
My favourite moment was the sass that seemed to just burst out of me in the Cecily and Gwendolen scene – I mean, it got VICIOUS – there must be a terrifying diva inside me somewhere that’s clawing to get out! The whole thing was such fun, and I’ve now slept for twelve hours with LOTS of muscles aching, but it was worth it. And to finally quote Elaine Stritch; I wore my own shoes!”
Bryan Hodgson will reprise the role of Graham de Hare again this evening.