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Emily Miller stars as Gwendolen Fairfax in Back Alley Productions' "The Importance of Being Earnest in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse."
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Joseph Watts, left, portrays Algernon Moncrieff and Tessa Sentell is his love interest, Cecily Cardew, in "The Importance of Being Earnest in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse."

If you go

› What: Back Alley Productions’ “The Importance of Being Earnest in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse.”

› When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, May 27-28, June 3-4 and June 10-11; 2:30 p.m. Sundays, May 29, June 5 and June 12.

› Where: Mars Theater, 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette, Ga.

› Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors 55+, $10 students with valid school ID.

› Phone: 706-621-2870, 706-996-8350.

› Website: www.backalleyproductions.org.

Just a week after wrapping the super-serious Arthur Miller drama "Death of a Salesman," Back Alley Productions is offering an Oscar Wilde comedy with a surprising twist. Strangely enough, the new production also has an undercurrent of death — or, more correctly, undeath.

"The Importance of Being Earnest in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse" reimagines Wilde's famous comedy about two young gentlemen who bend the truth to make their lives more exciting. Heightening the laughter in this go-round are the myriad corpses who shamble into scenes already dripping with situation comedy.

Thomas White adapted the script and serves as director.

"We're keeping the clever lines, the ridiculous characters," he says. "We're just adding zombies into a 20th-century aristocratic world. It creates hilarious contrast. There's fun in it for those who love dry comedy, love zombies or love both."

In Wilde's original plot, Worthing has invented a brother, Ernest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave behind his dull life to visit his love interest, Gwendolen. While Worthing is in town, Moncrieff also disguises himself as Ernest and goes to the country to secretly visit Worthing's young, beautiful ward, Cecily. The situation goes awry when both men end up in the country.

Their deceptions are discovered just as the undead come alive. Yeah, that part's new.

"Adding zombies emphasizes Wilde's theme in the play of society placing too much emphasis on trivial matters and ignoring significant issues," says White. "For example, even though they can easily be bitten by a zombie and turn into one themselves, the characters carry on daintily drinking tea and enjoying their finger sandwiches. They're indifferent to the zombies, who are dull-brained anyway, more funny than scary. The characters have absolutely hilarious interactions with them."

The show will run approximately two hours. It plays Friday through Sunday for the next three weekends, May 27-June 12.

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