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Two black women take on Oscar Wilde's iconic comedy

Published: 27 January 2019
Reporter: Sheila Connor

In a new production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of being Earnest from Two Gents Productions and Tara Arts, two British-African women, Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Kudzanayi Chiwawa, play all the characters.

Casely-Hayford is an actress, voice artist and employment lawyer living and working in London of Ghanian descent. Chiwawa is a Zimbabwean-born actress and graduate of Drama Studio London and is also a developing playwright.

The show's directors, Tonderai Munyevu and Arne Pohlmeier, said, "The Importance of Being Earnest is a good night out at the theatre—quick-witted dialogue, over-the-top poshness, mistaken identities, handbags and cucumber sandwiches. Underneath, however, there is also a tense drama about identity, social anxiety and the need to belong. We have chosen to amp up both aspects with only two actors playing all of the parts and tapping into their own experience as migrants and as women to bring a rich, nuanced approach to Oscar Wilde's masterpiece."

Artistic Director of Tara Arts Jatinder Verma commented, " I am delighted to welcome Two Gents Productions back to Tara Theatre for what promises to be an unforgettable performance of the well-loved classic. The Importance of Being Earnest is a quintessentially 'British' period comedy. To see it presented by two British-African women is just the kind of ground-breaking cheek Oscar Wilde would have relished."