Mauckingbird gets Wilde with new play

Mauckingbird Theatre Company is once again doing what it does best: presenting a classic stage play with an LGBT twist.

This season, the company puts Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” through a gender makeover, through Aug. 25.

Described as a “comedy of manners,” the story follows two friends, Jack Worthing and Algeron Moncrief, as they pretend to be men of status and pedigree, each adopting the name Earnest in order to impress the class-conscious Lady Bracknell, the matron of their love interests, Cecily and Gwendolen.

Lindsay Mauck, actor, singer and founder of the theater company, said that in Mauckingbird’s take of the story, the sexuality and gender of the couples isn’t an issue.

“We’re working under the assumption that it is totally OK for people in this world to be gay or lesbian,” Mauck said. “Cecily and Gwendolen are both being played by men. Lady Bracknell doesn’t have a problem with the fact that they want to marry a man. That is totally acceptable. It’s the same issues she normally had a problem with, gender aside. It’s not the right class of person or they don’t have the right social standing. That is important to her. I think it’s really interesting and doesn’t put any false political message on it in my mind. It’s just how it is. It keeps the heart of all the characters as Oscar Wilde wanted them. The issue that he’s poking fun at, the fact that Lady Bracknell finds all the trivial things important and all the important things trivial, those haven’t changed.”

This production is a first for Mauck, as she is making her first appearance in a Mauckingbird production, performing as Dr. Chasuble.

“[Director] Peter [Reynolds] offered that part,” Mauck said about how she came to be cast in the show. “His number-one most brilliant side of directing he has is casting and he can pick the perfect people for the role. This is the first time we have done a show where I fit the role. I’m really glad that he asked me to do it. This is definitely a fun switch. My favorite part about the character is how seriously she takes herself in terms of book-learning. I don’t think she’s taken a lot of time to think about herself. She’s career-driven and thinks about the church and her duties there. It’s fun to play a character that is a little bit similar to myself. I work a lot and like working. It’s fun to see it in another person and think about what that means for you.”

Mauck said Reynolds hasn’t decided what the next show will be, but the company will continue to put an LGBT stamp on the classics.

“The number-one thing we are interested in doing is telling good stories,” she said. “The classic texts are obviously great stories that have been tried and tested. It’s a little bit of a higher bar for new works to meet that standard because they don’t have the longstanding tradition of being a great story.”

Mauckingbird Theatre Company presents “The Importance of Being Earnest” through Aug. 25 at Off-Broad Street Theater, 1636 Sansom St. For more information or tickets, call 215-923-8909 or visit

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