The Importance of being San Juan Community Theatre! | Column

Howard Schonberger

Howard Schonberger

Saturday night. Rainy weather, short of staff, working late to keep up.

I almost decided to miss the San Juan Community Theatre show and watch the March Madness game between Wisconsin and Arizona on television.

I realized it was the first of the NCAA big four contests and No. 2 seeded Wisconsin was playing No. 1 seed Arizona. We like Wisconsin.

Only thing, we already had purchased two tickets. I have always liked Oscar Wilde. We decided to not go through the red-tape of changing plans. Even if the tickets were only $11 apiece for this performance by the Friday Harbor Middle School Players.

One nice thing about the television I have, I can record ahead of time and avoid talking to sports fans until I sit down to see the whole thing fresh.

I had seen the play in London in 1978 and wondered how youngsters could possibly do that. The play was not only “nice,” but also one of the greatest weekends we can remember.

First of all, “The Importance of Being Earnest” was one of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve seen by our talented youth. Jane Maxwell Campbell, director; Cole Hamilton and Journey Howden, assistant directors; and Jill Urbach, character coach, presented a brilliant, flawless adult work. Their accents had these 14-year-olds speaking the words I first heard in London (the summer of 1978) in a manner that didn’t miss.

Costuming was perfect, particularly since the butler, Diego Anderson, had to be both a butler in the opening act and a household matron in the second.

Jaclyn Domenech, EmmaJean Carpentier, Brian Fleming, Macalister Arendt and Lucy Uhrbach were wonderfully garbed, as they were involved in the titular task of the play’s theme. Katy Kulseth resolves the clashes of interest as Zach Fincher (the robed clergyman) agrees to conduct the christening of Earnest.

Thanks, Whittier Theatre for making our last 26 years here so enjoyable. And thanks buddies for not telling me ahead of time who won, as the University of Wisconsin beat number one-rated Arizona.

This week I’m watching the last few games as they’re played, unless SJCT has something that interferes. If so, I’ll hit record again.

—Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)