When I was asked to design the set for this production of The Importance of Being Earnest, I set three design goals for myself:
1. Create a new fresh look for this timeless classic while maintaining its Victorian origins.
2. Design a visual feast for each of the play’s three acts that would match Wilde’s sublime text
3. Make Oscar Wilde proud!
As an admirer of the Victorian era, it was easy for me to find my inspiration in the stylized world of the Victorian vaudeville stage, children’s toy paper theatre, classic doll houses, the surrealistic images of Alice in Wonderland, the lush look of Victorian Decoupage, and the repressed and yet explosive sexuality of the time.
Without revealing too many of the visual secrets of this production, I will leave you with what director David Mackay told me once I showed him the model for my set design: “You took Trivial every day Victorian objects, gave them more Importance than they normally receive, and you’ve done it Earnestly!”
—Amir Ofek, set designer for The Importance of Being Earnest