The Importance of Being Earnest: Dennis & Madelynn as Jack & Gwendolen

From left to right: Dennis McAndrew & Madelynn Shores

The Importance of Being Earnest features the couple Jack Worthing and Gwendolen as leading man and lady, and they will be played by sophomores Dennis McAndrew and Madelynn Shores respectively in Millbrook’s production of the play.

Both actors are boasting some of their first lead roles this year, with Shores also having played the leading lady Audrey in Millbrook’s production of Little Shop of Horrors this fall. Previously, she has had done a few leading roles in church plays and a leading role in a one act play in eighth grade. She added, “Really, Little Shop is the only real theatre experience I’ve had in high school.” McAndrew described his theatre experience thus far as having a few minor roles in elementary school and middle school–including a musical about bugs in which he played the emcee and Schroeder in A Charlie Brown Christmas, respectively–as well as a leading role in a play in third grade. He described the experience of becoming the lead in The Importance of Being Earnest as a “rude awakening.” He said, “It’s a gigantic slap to the face, because you don’t really take it as seriously at first, but once you see how serious it is, you start putting nose to the grindstone, and you’re just all in.”

Neither sophomore are sure if they would like to continue theatre as a career in their future. “I could see myself doing it. I’m not opposed to it, but it’s not the main thing I’m trying to achieve,” McAndrew explained. Similarly, Shores said, “I could definitely try it, I don’t see myself getting very far if I tried to go into it [but] I would definitely enjoy going into it.” She went on to say that she is open to minoring in theatre when she goes to college, but does not see herself majoring in it.

The pair of actors will play John “Jack” Worthing and his fiance Gwendolen. McAndrew described his character as having a “weird facade of being this bad boy character, but behind the scenes he’s really paranoid and flustered about everything, especially when he gets into a really serious and stressful situation.” He said that it has not been hard taking on the role of Jack, describing himself as similar to the character, but said that it was hard to memorize his lines due to the language. Shores agreed and said, “There’s a lot of monologues; [the play is set in] Victorian London, so a lot of the language is kind of hard to remember.” Shores went on to describe her character as posh and very seductive: “When she’s around men, she’s like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Wanna go get some fries?’” She said that acting seductive was the hardest part of playing Gwendolen, describing it as “a lot harder than it seems it would be, when you’re not actually a seductive person.”

They both agreed that it could be awkward working together as love interests in the play. McAndrew said that acting together has been awkward and Shores agreed, but said it was “not awful.” She also said, “You basically have to put yourself in the place where it’s like, ‘I’m this character, they’re interested in their character.’ You just have to get past that boundary. Of course, there’s gonna be those awkward interactions but in any role that you play that has a romantic interest, you’re going to have those awkward interactions anyways.” McAndrew went on to agree with her.

McAndrew and Shores are both expecting to have their respective parents and siblings come see them perform, so come show your support as well on March 31 at 7 pm, April 1 at 3 pm, and April 2 at 3 pm.

About the Author

Madison Lazenby
Madison Lazenby is a sophomore writer for the BlueXpress. Ask her about her dog, Molly.